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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO 



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Alice Maxweli 



DEACONESS 




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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO 






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THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIECO 

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA 



ALICE MAXWELL 




MISS ALICE MAXWELL. 



Frontispiece. 



/Jo 

ALICE MAXWELL 

DEACONESS 



BY 

HER SISTER 
Mrs. HORATIO MACRAE 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 



TO 
MY GUILD SISTERS 

IN LOVING MEMORY OF ONE OF OUR 

FIRST AND BEST 

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK 



PREFACE 

In Mr. Livingstone's Life of Mary Slessor he quotes 
her words : " There is nothing small or trivial, for 
God is ready to take every act and motive and 
work through them to the formation of character 
and the development of holy and useful lives 
that will convey grace to the world." And then 
he adds : " It was so in her case, and hence the 
value of her example, and the warrant for telling 
the story of her life so that others may be influenced 
to follow aims as noble and to strive, if not always 
in the same manner, at least with a like courage, 
and in the same patient and indomitable spirit." 

This must be my warrant for the story I have 
tried to write of a consecrated and noble life given 
wholly to God, her country, and her Church. It 
has been written through days of deep anxiety 
and great sorrow, and I have often felt wholly 
unworthy and unable to carry out such a task; 
but it has been a labour of love, and if in any way 
it is of use in deepening the spiritual life and 
raising the high aims of our Guild members I shall 
greatly rejoice. 



viii ALICE MAXWELL 

I cannot omit a word of special thanks for the 
free use I have been allowed to make of the past 
volumes of the Life and Work Magazine. They 
contain a full and consecutive account of the 
Woman's Guild and Diaconate of the Church of 
Scotland. Written at the time the events occurred, 
they give a doubly vivid and correct view of what 
was undertaken, and for that reason I have intro- 
duced many of the accounts almost word for 
word. I should also like to thank many kind 
friends for their loving interest and prayers, and 
Miss Maxwell's old residents for the many notes 
they have written to help me, telling of their 
devotion to her and their happy, helpful time of 
training at the Deaconess House with her. My 
grateful thanks are also due to my kind friend, 
Mrs. Fraser of Reelig, whose encouragement and 
helpful interest have been unfailing; to the Rev. 
L. MacLean Watt for many useful suggestions ; to 
Mr. John Oxenham for his generous permission to 
quote several of his poems, and to Messrs. Blackwood 
& Sons for allowing me to insert Dr. Matheson's 
beautiful hymn " O, make my clouds Thy chariots " 
at the beginning of the tenth chapter of the book. 

June 1919. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

Childhood's Surroundings and Influences . . 1 

Dalskairth — Whatcroft — Cardoness — Colonel William 
Maxwell and Covenanting traditions — Tour in the 
Highlands. 

CHAPTER II 

Home Life ........ 23 

Sunday School and Parish work — Expedition to Isle of 
Man -Death of her Father in 1886. 

CHAPTER III 

Preparation ........ 43 

Tour to Australia — Visits to Mildmay, Rochester, and 
Kilburn. 

CHAPTER IV 

Guilds and Deaconess Order of the Church of 

Scotland ....... 67 



x ALICE MAXWELL 

CHAPTER V 

Deaconess House and Training .... 79 

Mayfield Gardens — George Square — Deaconess 
House life— Setting apart of Lady Grisell Baillie, 
Miss Davidson, and Miss Alice Maxwell as Deaconesses 
of the Church of Scotland. 

CHAPTER VI 

Missionary Training and District Work . . 97 

Missionary teaching — Deaconess dress — Woman's 
Guild Supplement— Kitchen Prayer Meetings— Men's 
Sunday Bible Reading — Christmas and New Year 
meetings and arrangements— Temperance work. 

CHAPTER VII 

Mission Premises and Deaconess Hospital . . 121 

Ems — Schwalbach— Mission premises opened— First 
Woman's Guild Conference— Sunday Home — Sunday 
Meetings — Deaconess Hospital opened. 

CHAPTER VIII 

Woman's Guild Conferences and other Work . 147 

General Assembly — Dr. Charteris, Moderator — Woman's 
Guild Conference at Aberdeen— Annual Conference of 
Deaconesses at Deaconess House — Country produce 
hampers — Winter in Canary Islands. 

CHAPTER IX 

New Projects and Developments . . . .173 

Woman's Guild Conferences at Dundee, Stirling, 
Glasgow, and Inverness — Temperance Tent — Additions 
to Hospital and Mission— Charteris Memorial Church 
— Deaconess Rest. 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER X 

Work in General . . . . . . .197 

Death of Dr. Charteris — Edinburgh Conference — The 
influence of Christian'hope — List of classes for session 
1909-10 — Scottish Women's Protestant Union — Prayer 
— World Missionary Conference — Failing health. 

CHAPTER XI 

Last Years ........ 219 

Operation on eyes — Presentation — Miss Sophie Lamond 
— increasing weakness — Homegoing. 

CHAPTER XII 

Possibilities and Responsibilities of the Guild . 233 

APPENDICES 

A. Epitaph on the Tomb of John Bell of Whiteside 

IN THE OLD ANWOTH CHURCHYARD . . . 243 

B. Address on Prayer by Miss Maxwell given to 

her Residents ....... 244 

C. Extract from an Address by Dr. Charteris . 254 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Miss Alice Maxwell .... Frontispiece 

TO FACK PAGE 

Old Cardoness House ...... 5 

Picture of Miss Alice Maxwell as a Child . . 20 

Rev. Professor Charteris, D.D. . . . . 70 

Lady Grisell Baillie, first Deaconess of the Church 

of Scotland 93 

Miss Alice Maxwell, D.C.S., first Superintendent of 

the Deaconess House . . . . .100 

Miss Ella Pirrie, D.C.S., first Matron of the 

Deaconess Hospital . . . . . .140 

View of Kalimpong Mission 183 

Mission Hall and Deaconess Hospital . . .191 

Charteris Memorial Church and Mission Hall . . 223 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS AND 
INFLUENCES 



Fair Anwoth by the Solway, 

To me thou still art dear. 
E'en from the verge of Heaven 

I drop for thee a tear. 
Oh ! if one soul from Anwoth 

Meet me at God's right hand, 
My Heaven will be two Heavens 

In Immanuel's Land. 



The little birds of Anwoth 

I used to count them blest. 
Now beside happier altars 

I go to build my nest ! 
O'er them there broods no silence 

No graves around them stand, 
For glory deathless dwelleth 

In Immanuel's Land. 



A. R. C. 



CHAPTER I 

childhood's surroundings and influences 

God's Angels of Life and Death, of Gladness and 
Sorrow, often seem to keep step strangely and 
mysteriously on the pathways of His world. A 
new life with all its possibilities of joy and useful- 
ness is born into the world and the home is filled 
with rejoicing, but the Angel of Death may also 
come, bringing sorrow and separation in his train. 

Alice Maud Maxwell, the youngest daughter of 
Sir William Maxwell of Cardoness, was born on 
the 17th of November 1856 at Dalskairth, near 
Dumfries, where her parents were living before her 
father succeeded to the family title and property 
of Cardoness. Five days after, the beautiful young 
mother passed across the River to wait in the 
gladness of the Father's Presence for the little 
ones she had trusted to His care. Her sweet 
brown eyes and bright complexion were her legacy 
to her youngest child. 

Alice, though a healthy, was never a very strong 
child. When only a few weeks old a violent attack 
of whooping-cough seemed as if it would snap the 
frail young life, but the love and devoted care of 
her nurse, Sarah Burns, under God's blessing, 

3 



4 ALICE MAXWELL 

brought her safely through the ordeal, and she 
gradually regained health and strength. She was 
the special care of her Nannie, whose devotion to 
her young mistress was transferred very specially 
to the little motherless child left in her charge. 

Their mother's old home, Whatcroft Hall, near 
Northwich, in Cheshire, was always like a second 
home to her children, and the annual visit there in 
spring one of the great joys and excitements of the 
year. The letter which they knew would come in 
April was eagerly looked for, and the delight great 
when the well-known handwriting was recognised 
and they saw the packing and arrangements for 
the journey south beginning. Their grandfather 
was a younger brother of Sir Charles Shakerley of 
Somerford Park, Cheshire, and their grandmother 
a daughter of the Reverend James Webster of Ash- 
field, County Longford, Ireland. The weeks spent 
at Whatcroft were a great joy to the children. 
The loving interest and care of the dear grand- 
mother and the companionship of the five young 
aunts — some of them still girls in the schoolroom 
— who were both mothers and playmates to the 
children of the sister they had loved so deeply, 
were a great and lasting influence in the children's 
lives. Those spring weeks were always kept 
specially free for the children's visit, and rambles 
in the fields, primrose and cowslip gathering, and 
in the forget-me-not wood, where the beautiful 
little blue flowers peeped up through the leaves 
making a sheen of blue all round, are among the 
happy memories of their childhood. 

Mr. Shakerley himself was an ideal example of 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 5 

a fine old English country gentleman. He was for 
some years Master of the Cheshire Hounds, and 
when he gave up the post knew the roads and 
bypaths of Cheshire as few others did. He was 
often annoyed in consequence by the crowds who, 
knowing his good leadership, insisted on following 
close behind him. One day, much pestered by 
their attentions, he rode into a farmyard, straight 
up to the pig-sties, whither they all followed him 
in hot haste. Then turning round he said, " A 
fine set of pigs, gentlemen," and looked with much 
amusement at the dismayed faces of his pursuers. 
For some time afterwards the attentions of that 
portion of the field were less insistent. 

On Sunday Mrs. Shakerley and some of her 
daughters always left home directly after breakfast 
for Shurlach, a distant part of the parish which they 
considered their special charge, and where they had 
a Sunday School. As it was too far to come home 
and return again they spent most of the day there, 
Mrs. Shakerley reading the morning service with 
the children in school, and one of the curates 
conducting the afternoon service in the little 
church close by. The grandchildren often drove 
to the afternoon service in the carriage that brought 
their grandmother back, or walked part of the way 
along the straight Roman road to meet the aunts 
on their return. Sometimes, on other days, they 
went with them to visit the people and leave books 
and papers at their homes. 

When Alice was about three years old the 
family moved to Cardoness, as Sir David Maxwell 
was in failing health and wished to have his son, 



6 ALICE MAXWELL 

her father, with him. It was a big undertaking 
to move from the house that had been the home of 
the father and his seven children for so many 
years. The two schoolboy brothers and the eldest 
sister, Mary, who afterwards married Sir William 
Gordon of Earlston, were the children of their 
father by his first wife, Miss Sprot. David, the 
eldest of the family, entered the 15th (King's) Hus- 
sars, where his bright genial temper made him a 
universal favourite. But he died at Folkestone in 
1876 on his way to rejoin his regiment in India 
at the early age of thirty-three. The illness had 
been a weary and trying one, borne patiently in a 
strength higher than his own, and he knew when 
God took him it was to His " Far Better." A 
monument put up by his brother officers in the 
Parish Church of Anwoth tells of their love and 
sorrow, and the little Cottage Hospital at Anwoth, 
built by his widow in fond memory of their two 
short earthly years of love and happiness together, 
still keeps his memory green in the home he loved. 
The second brother, William Francis, succeeded his 
father in 1886, and is the present Baronet. 

The four younger children carried away few 
remembrances of the Dalskairth days, but Cardo- 
ness, their new home, was an ideal one for children. 
The sandy beach was a perfect playground, and 
on warm sunny days the waves lapped gently 
over the sand till the temperature became like 
that of tepid water. The woods came down to 
the shore in many places, and in others bold rocky 
cliffs added to the beauty around. Her home, 
with its surroundings of shore, mountain, and glen, 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 7 

was very dear to Alice, and she loved to come back 
to it when the calls of her busy after-life made 
this possible. Coaches still ran in those early 
days, and carried with them the clash of the 
countryside. The coach from Portpatrick to Dum- 
fries, and later on, when railways appeared, to 
Castle -Douglas, still rattled along the road with 
its three horses yoked in unicorn fashion, and its 
red-coated driver and Sandy, the guard, sounding 
his shrill horn as they went along. Sandy was a 
well-known character. Once when the driver lost 
his balance and fell head foremost among the 
horses' legs, just managing to keep himself from 
reaching the ground by clinging on to the foot- 
board with his feet, the horses bolted, but Sandy, 
scrambling over the pile of luggage on the coach, 
contrived to catch hold of the reins, keep his feet 
on the driver's and stop the frightened steeds. 
What might have been a very bad accident was 
averted, and the thankful passengers willingly 
subscribed a sum of money which was presented 
to Sandy in token of their gratitude. When rail- 
ways made coaches unnecessary the daily excite- 
ment of their arrival was missed by many. One 
old farmer used dolefully to maintain that the 
country " was no place ava' " since the coach 
stopped running. 

Inside and outside the house there were many 
memories of old days. Samuel Rutherford's Monu- 
ment was seen from all parts of the surrounding 
country, and the traditions of his saintliness, and 
of others who had laid down their lives for God 
and their country, still lingered among the people. 



8 ALICE MAXWELL 

The ivy-covered walls of the old church, where 
Rutherford used to preach to the crowds that 
came to hear him, were still standing. Beside it 
were the grave of William Bell of Whiteside, 1 
with its sad and quaint inscription, and the tomb 
where her own ancestors had been laid for many 
generations. The Parish Church, where the family 
worshipped, had been built at a short distance 
from the older site, and Alice was seldom absent 
from its services. 

The portraits of Queen Mary and William III., 
presented to Colonel William Maxwell in recogni- 
tion of brave service rendered in troublous and 
dangerous times, were among the most valued 
family treasures. Colonel Maxwell's own portrait, 
with its strong, true face, looked down upon her 
from the old walls of her home. He was the 
founder of the Cardoness family, born in 1663, and 
has always been held in deep reverence by them. 
His father was the Reverend William Maxwell, 
M.A., of the University of Glasgow, minister of 
the Parish of Minnigaff, and great-grandson of Sir 
Gavin Maxwell of Calderwood. He felt he could 
not conform to the requirements of those who 
were trying to force Episcopacy again on an un- 
willing people, and in 1662 he was deprived of his 
living after a ministry of twenty-five years among 
his people, and died soon after, before he had 
reached the age of sixty. 

Three weeks later the little son, who seems to 
have been the special treasure of his mother's heart, 
was born. With self-sacrificing devotion, which 
1 See Appendix A, p. 243. 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 9 

was tenderly returned by her boy, she made her 
home in Glasgow when he was about twelve years 
of age, that he might have a thorough and suitable 
education in the High School there, and later 
enter his father's University. It must have been 
a time of straitened means and many difficulties 
to the brave and devoted mother, but her lad 
could write thankfully afterwards of how " in 
straits " they had been " provided for, in sickness 
supported, with gospel mercies trysted, yet in 
nothing that I, or the family I belonged to stood 
in need of, but timeous supply was given." The 
promise was kept true to them as to all God's 
trusting children : " Bread shall be given them and 
their water shall be sure." His mother's great 
desire seems to have been that he should enter the 
ministry of the Church of his father, but many 
difficulties were in the way. The second short 
Episcopate had then been forced on the country, 
and its ministry was hampered with terms to which 
the son of the martyred minister of Minnigaff felt 
he could not agree. At eighteen years of age he 
had definitely chosen the service of God as the 
great end and aim of his life, and in the choice of 
an earthly profession this was his first thought. 
" It's the Lord's call I desire chiefly to look to. 
Let the Lord dispose upon me as He pleases so 
that I may be most serviceable to Him," he writes 
in a diary which, like many others of his time, he 
kept during the greater part of his life. 

Those were dark days for Scotland. Fines, 
imprisonment, torture, and often death, were the 
penalites inflicted on all who refused to yield 



10 ALICE MAXWELL 

both body and conscience to the unjust demands 
of the Government. The Test Act had not been 
withdrawn in 1681. It required all who held any 
public office to acknowledge the King to be supreme 
over all persons, and in all causes, both civil and 
ecclesiastical, promise never to discuss any matters 
of State without His Majesty's express permission 
or command, and never to endeavour to make any 
alteration in the government of the country. This 
was demanded from all privy councillors, ministers, 
or excisemen, and often asked even from women 
and young girls. Of course such a pledge meant 
death to the freedom and manhood of any nation, 
and in spite of the years of cruel persecution and 
bloodshed there were still hearts in Scotland brave 
enough, and so truly loyal to the ancient throne of 
their country, that they refused to be bound by 
such an Act. The Earl of Argyll, one of the leaders 
of the Covenanting party, and a member of the 
Privy Council, delayed as long as possible taking 
the Test, and when he took it, made a statement 
that he only took it in so far as it was consistent 
with itself and with the Protestant religion, and 
that he did not understand it as precluding him 
from attempting, in a lawful way, any alteration 
in Church or State which might be in accordance 
with his loyalty and religion. This explanation at 
first seemed to be accepted by the authorities ; but 
a few days after Argyll was made prisoner, and 
committed to the Castle of Edinburgh charged with 
treason, and found guilty. With difficulty he 
succeeded in making his escape in the disguise of 
a page holding up the train of his stepdaughter, 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 11 

Lady Sophia Lindsay, and fled to Holland. The 
abuse of the law in this case made a deep impression 
on the public mind, even in those corrupt days. 
" I know nothing of the Scottish law," Halifax is 
said to have exclaimed to King Charles, " but this 
I know, that we should not hang a dog here on 
the grounds on which my Lord Argyll has been 
sentenced." 

During these years William Maxwell was grow- 
ing up to manhood, his strong, tender character 
deepened, not embittered, by the strife around him. 
But he could not watch the oppression of his 
country unmoved, or refuse to stand by her in her 
need. The Earl of Argyll, outlawed like many of 
Scotland's bravest sons, had spoken with other 
patriots in Holland of the oppression of the Privy 
Council, and the travesty of justice in the land, and 
they felt that armed resistance could alone save 
their country. After much discussion a plan of 
operation was agreed on, and Argyll landed in 
Scotland in June 1685. His faithful clansmen 
gathered round him, but the rest of his country- 
men, broken in spirit, for the moment, by the 
tyranny under which they were suffering, kept 
apart. Dissensions broke out among them, and 
Argyll was taken prisoner when attempting to 
return to the Islands, and carried back to Edin- 
burgh. No mercy was likely to be shown to him 
after taking up arms, but he had counted the cost, 
and calmly awaited his end. " I am now loosed 
from you and all earthly satisfaction and long to be 
with Christ which is far better," he said to his 
sister, Lady Lothian, who was taking a sad and 



12 ALICE MAXWELL 

loving farewell of him. " It seems the Lord 
thought me not fit to be an instrument in His 
work, but I die in the faith of it. I hear they 
cannot agree about the manner of my death ; but 
I am assured of my salvation. As for my body, 
I care not what they do with it." And then as he 
thought of the loneliness and hardships that might 
be round his poor wife he added, " Sister, be kind 
to my Jeanie." About an hour before his execu- 
tion he lay down and slept so calmly that one of 
his enemies exclaimed in astonishment, " Argyll 
within an hour of eternity and sleeping like a 
child ! " 

William Maxwell's deep patriotism could not 
remain unaffected while these things were going on. 
On June 30, the day of the Earl's execution, he 
writes : " This day spent with much grief, not 
wanting reason when the people of God have been 
trysted with so great a loss this day by the suffering 
of Archibald, Earl of Argyll, one of the best, yea 
soundest Protestants in Europe." Unmoved by 
the danger to himself he obtained leave to visit 
the Earl in prison, accompanied him, and stood 
by him all the time on the scaffold, and then went 
with the sorrowing little company who bore away 
the body and laid it reverently on a table which 
is still shown in the little Magdalen Chapel close 
by the Grassmarket. William Maxwell was only 
twenty-two years of age at that time, and it must 
have needed a courage very deep and steadfast in 
one so young to take such a stand in those days. 
But for some time no danger seems to have 
threatened Maxwell himself, and he writes trust- 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 18 

fully: "But although things have a formidable 
aspect, yet our God lives, and will bring all about 
to His Glory " ; and again : " Renewing my resolu- 
tion to embrace Christ through weal and through 
woe upon whatsoever hazard, choosing to quit with 
all in the world rather than to quit with Him. He 
is an all-sufficient rock to His own in a day of 
distress such as this." 

He felt now that some definite work should 
be undertaken, and in March 1686, with earnest 
prayer and consideration, he sought God's guidance 
as to the profession he should choose. " Truly," 
he writes in his diary, " it is a quiet life I have still 
desired, and which I think most agreeable to my 
nature"; but still above the desire for the quiet 
life rose the desire to live for God and His people, 
and " being willing to be at God's disposal in what- 
soever He shall determine, my heart did beg God's 
counsel and determination to that state of life 
which should be most to His glory and my soul's 
comfort, even to take myself to some employment 
wherein I might serve the Lord (and O that I might 
still eye that as my greatest business !) and be 
useful in my generation; for certainly the Lord 
calls me that I should not live an idle life, but work 
where He calls me." The ministry of the Church 
he felt was " the most honourable employment in 
the world, — to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ, 
O how desirable ! No honour in the world to be 
compared to this, no service or work like this ; to 
be a servant, even if it be one of the meanest servants 
of His house, is far beyond what I can speak or 
think of." But in the distress of those days, that 



14 ALICE MAXWELL 

course seemed shut against him, and he turned 
to the study of medicine. " That I might be 
useful in my generation has been my desire, but 
here in this land I cannot see how in any other 
way I can be so, for all doors for other callings are 
shut upon me. I hope by the Lord's strength not 
to sacrifice my conscience to the will of man for 
any worldly advantages. These reasons, therefore, 
giving me clearness to this work, I'll desire to 
embrace it, hoping that the Lord will give His 
assistance, for it's His Glory I desire to aim at." 
In April of that year he moved into Edinburgh, 
where he is thought to have studied under Professor 
Robert Sibbald, of whose kindness and talents he 
writes in his journal with deep gratitude. But he 
never forgot the loving hand of His God upon him, 
and in June he writes : " The Lord's way of dealing 
with His own is wonderful. Some He makes to 
lead their life with pleasure, enjoying much of the 
comforts of this world. Others He makes to lead 
their lives through many difficulties and troubles, 
with many tossings and wanderings here and there 
in their pilgrimage, giving them much of His pres- 
ence — and yet does the Lord wonderfully provide 
for and preserve them." 

But the quiet life he desired was not to be his 
at that time, for he was too true and brave a man 
to escape the jealous observations of the authori- 
ties. He must have attended the meetings of the 
Presbyterian Ministers in and near Edinburgh, and 
on January 23, 1687, he was suddenly arrested and 
confined in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. But the 
steadfast spirit was not daunted, and his diary 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 15 

during those five weeks of imprisonment reads like 
a page out of Samuel Rutherford's letters. " O ! 
how shall I bless Him ! O that my soul and all 
that is within me were magnifying His Holy Name 
for this great token of His love He has carved out 
unto me ! As the love of God has been unspeak- 
ably great towards me throughout the whole course 
of my time, so is it not wanting in my present lot 
every way." " Surely I have great reason to bless 
His holy Name . . . that He is still continuing 
such manifestations of His love that I can scarce 
call it a prison. Yea, I dare not call it a prison ; 
for surely where the Lord gives His presence to any 
of His followers, in whatever place it be, even though 
it be a dungeon, that is more comfortable to the 
follower of Christ, yea he will find more real solace, 
joy, and satisfaction than in the best palaces of the 
world however so gorgeously adorned. The love 
and care of God towards me since I came to this 
place have been very great. O how has He been 
pleased to give me health and strength, keeping 
me from fainting or wearying, or being in the least 
cast down, all which are tokens of God's Fatherly 
love much to be admired ; and O that I could walk 
thankful of such great mercies while I have a being 
in time that so I may be always blessing and praising 
His Holy Name, who has esteemed me worthy of 
such an honour as to suffer for Him, and that He 
has not left me to myself under my sufferings. 
O praise, praise be unto Him." But William 
Maxwell knew well the danger he was in, and again 
he writes: "Blessed be His Name who has not 
been absent from me even while called before great 



16 ALICE MAXWELL 

ones ; so that though I may have given them 
offence (but without any just ground), yet I desire 
to hope I did not offend God. . . . Let the Lord 
dispose of me as He pleases, whether to liberty or to 
further trial. I desire strength to submit even if it 
were for the natural life. I should heartily think 
myself willing to render it up through His strength 
bearing me up. I desire to commit myself wholly 
on His care that all may be for His Glory and good 
of our souls and comfort of His followers." 

But God had much work for His servant to do 
still, and an Act of Toleration being proclaimed by 
James VII. soon after his accession, Maxwell was 
released from prison. He felt, however, as many 
others did, and their fears proved only too true, 
that this Act of Toleration was only a plan to enable 
James to rivet the chains of popery more securely 
on the nation at a later date, and thought it wiser 
to go over to Holland, as many others had done, 
and finish his course of study at the University of 
Leyden. Mr. William Carstairs joined him there 
afterwards, and he much enjoyed his ministrations. 
His mother died while he was at Leyden, and with 
very deep grief he mentions his loss of " a parent 
whose love and affection towards me and the rest 
of her children was so very great," and yet he 
writes : " I dare not grudge or repine, for it is the 
Lord, the holy and wise God that hath done it. 
My loss is her unspeakable gain." 

Other troubles weighed on him and on the band 
of patriots gathered together in Holland. James 
had by that time thrown off the mask, and there 
could be no doubt of his determination to destroy 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 17 

the Protestantism of the country with the help of 
Louis XIV. of France. William of Orange and 
his Queen were asked to take the crown, and in 
October 1688 William raised an army in defence 
of his co-religionists and sailed for England. 
After earnest prayer and consideration the young 
Scotch student decided to join the expeditionary 
force and entered as an ensign in the Earl of 
Leven's regiment. He gives his reasons in these 
words : " It is true the Lord may call His people 
to appear for His interest and let them fall before 
His enemies, yet ought not the call to be neglected. 
The call seems to be such that all Protestants 
have this day to appear for the Protestant Religion 
in so great distress that I dare not but embrace it. 
Should I now neglect this opportunity what peace 
could I have ? Would it not be a turning my 
back on the interest of Christ that seems now to 
be as it were at the stake ? For the world I could 
not adventure to do it. The work in hand is 
great. O that my walk were suitable thereto." 
From this time the army became his vocation, and 
his gallant and devoted conduct soon earned him 
promotion. He was present in the battles of the 
Boyne and of Killiecrankie and at the Battle of 
Landen in Flanders and had many narrow escapes. 
King William formed a deep attachment to him, 
and presented him with a ring containing His 
Majesty's hair as well as portraits of himself and 
Queen Mary. 

At this time the deepest of all earthly joys 
entered into his life, and, as always, he sought for 
His Heavenly Master's guidance and to know His 



18 ALICE MAXWELL 

will for him. Though now a distinguished soldier 
he was far from being a rich man, and though his 
heart's affection was given to Nicholas Stewart, 
a granddaughter of the Earl of Galloway and, 
through her mother, heiress to the lands of Car- 
doness, he felt, with his usual modest estimation 
of himself, " the unreasonableness of my affections 
in soaring so high " ; but both Mistress Nicholas 
and her family had a different estimate of the 
gallant young soldier, and she was married to him 
in 1696, after Colonel William Maxwell's return 
from his first period of active service in Flanders. 
They were one in their love to a common Lord and 
Master, and their marriage seems to have been one 
of unclouded blessing and joy. " If I should have 
sat down and thought for many years how to be 
happy in a wife what could I have thought on that 
I have not got," the devoted husband writes after- 
wards in his diary. In 1702 he was returned as 
Member of Parliament, and in 1715 took command 
of the defence of Glasgow against an attack of 
James's adherents. He stayed there for some 
months, and in gratitude for his services was 
made a " Burgis and Guild brother of this Burgh," 
and presented with some valuable pieces of plate 
by the citizens. 

After a second short campaign in Flanders he 
felt now that he might with a clear conscience 
settle down to the quiet life he had wished for in 
earlier days and built the house of Cardoness, 
which, though it has undergone many changes 
since those old days, still stands on the same site. 
Five sons and nine daughters were given to him, 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 19 

and he lived to the ripe old age of eighty-nine, 
like Mordecai of old, " seeking the wealth of his 
people and speaking peace to all his seed." The 
ruins of a little summer-house are still standing 
where Colonel William Maxwell used to retire for 
prayer and meditation. They had been the great 
influences and guiding stars of his life, and as he 
passed those last quiet years, as his nephew Dr. 
Gartshore writes, with " Exemplary piety, constant 
and true patriotism, with zeal, activity, and fidelity, 
highly respected and much beloved, in most perfect 
health by strict temperance " surely he could say 
with deeper knowledge and more adoring love than 
ever, " The love of God towards me has been very 
great. O that I may walk thankful of such great 
mercies, and be always blessing and praising His 
Holy Name. O praise, praise be unto Him." 

A few years ago a copy of the National Covenant 
was discovered among the family papers in the 
Charter chest at Cardoness with some of the 
signatures written in blood. Was it brought away 
from the old Manse at Minnigaff in those days 
long ago when death or dishonour faced some of 
Scotland's noblest sons ? 

We often wonder how much old memories and 
surroundings such as these affect the character of 
a child, but in a strong deep nature like Alice 
Maxwell's they could hardly have been without an 
influence. It was an influence which only deepened 
as the years went on, and its outcome was shown 
in her loyal and devoted work for God, her country, 
and her Church. 

Alice, like all her sisters, was brought up at 



20 ALICE MAXWELL 

home with some months spent occasionally in 
Edinburgh for masters. She was a very beautiful 
child. The almost perfect child's features, the 
bright complexion, the dark tresses of long hair 
and the soft brown eyes, made a lovely picture. 
Country dinner parties were much in vogue in 
those days, and there are still some who can 
remember as a beautiful dream the little white- 
robed child as she sat after dinner on the knee of 
their friend, Lady Lifford, herself the personifica- 
tion of gentle gracious motherhood. In later days 
some of the features of her face were too strongly 
marked for perfect beauty, but the sweet tender 
expression which bespoke her character never left 
her. Her father, Sir William Maxwell, was seldom 
from home. He was a staunch Conservative and 
Unionist. He took a deep interest in all county 
and parish matters and in looking after the affairs 
of his own property. The many improvements he 
made on the farm-houses, offices, and cottages were 
carried out with great care and wise discrimina- 
tion. His children often took walks over the 
property with him or rode with him on more 
distant errands. His character was deeply affec- 
tionate, though reserved and very sensitive. To 
some he seemed stern, but he was just and upright, 
pure in word and deed, and his motherless children 
had a very tender place in his heart. 

When Alice was about twelve years old he took 
his four younger daughters for a tour in the High- 
lands, as he wished to show them something of 
the beautiful scenery of their own country. A 
very happy party started on their travels on a 




MISS ALICE MAXWELL AS A CHILD. 



To fiice page 20. 



CHILDHOOD'S SURROUNDINGS 21 

bright morning in September. They went first to 
Balloch and steamed up Loch Lomond to Tarbet, 
where they stayed for a few days. From there 
they sailed up to the further end of Loch Lomond 
and took a " machine " across the wild moor of 
Rannoch. But by this time the weather had 
broken, and in a fierce storm of wind and rain 
they drove along the steep road down Glencoe to 
Ballachulish. Sir William sat on the box himself 
and hoped a closed carriage would be proof against 
the storm, but the elements were too much for 
the rather ancient conveyance, and at last, in the 
vain hope of keeping themselves dry, the travellers 
put up umbrellas inside the carriage. Glencoe was 
certainly looking its wildest. 

The storm had cleared next morning and the 
country was beautiful in its freshness and bright 
sunshine. It had a special interest for them as 
they knew their grandfather, Mr. Shakerley, had 
taken the house and shootings of Ballachulish 
many years before, and their mother had stayed 
there with the rest of her family. From Balla- 
chulish they went to Fort William and up the 
Caledonian Canal to Inverness with Thomas Car- 
lyle as a fellow-passenger. He was travelling in 
the grey Inverness cape we know so well in some 
of his portraits, his eyes still keen and clear, looking 
out under his soft cap, but in failing health, old 
and rugged and not pleased with a gloomy day of 
rain which hid much of the scenery from his view. 
On their way south the travellers stopped at 
Pitlochry and Dunkeld, making expeditions from 
there to Killiecrankie, the falls of Tummel, the 



22 ALICE MAXWELL 

ruined Cathedral of Dunkeld, and other places. 
After a fortnight's tour in glorious weather except 
for the two stormy days at Glencoe and on the 
Caledonian Canal, they ended their journey at 
Milrig in Ayrshire, the house of their mother's kind 
old friends, Captain and Mrs. Tait. 



HOME LIFE 



23 



To every man there openeth 

A Way, and Ways, and a Way. 

And the High Soul climbs the High Way, 

And the Low Soul gropes the Low ; 

And in between on the misty flats, 

The rest drift to and fro. 

But to every man there openeth 

A High Way and a Low. 

And every man decideth 

The Way his Soul shall go. 

John Oxenham. 



24 



CHAPTER II 

HOME LIFE 

It is often difficult to mark the first workings of 
God's Spirit in any human soul. " The wind 
bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the 
sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh 
nor whither it goeth, so is every one that is born 
of the Spirit " were the Master's words. 

Some come to Him out of the fiery trial of 
sorrow or from the fierce battle of unbelief and sin 
and shame, and can tell the day and hour when 
they first learnt to trust a Saviour's love ; but 
others are drawn by the sweet constraint of His 
gentleness and cannot tell the day when His love 
was "as a strange thing " to them or His care 
unknown. Alice had naturally a very loving 
clinging nature, and the knowledge and power of 
God seemed to open out to her gradually as the 
years went on. God's Word had always been set 
before her as the Guide of her life, and she loved 
its pages. When about fourteen years of age she 
asked to be allowed to join the Communion of the 
Supper of her Lord and realised the deep signifi- 
cance of the step she was taking. 

In schoolroom days she learnt to make clothes 

25 



26 ALICE MAXWELL 

for the poor and visited in their homes ; and when 
she grew up it was a great joy, in spite of social 
duties and calls, which were not forgotten, to feel 
she had more time to give to what was the first 
and dearest object of her life. 

A Sunday School had been started for the 
children round Cardoness and a Christmas Tree 
and tea were given to them every Christmas. 
Alice did not take a class at that time, but always 
supplied the place of any sister who was from 
home. The Christmas Tree was a great joy to the 
children, and the games often left their young 
teachers stiff for many days after. It was a 
question of cubic capacity for the teachers when 
the smallest child dropped her handkerchief and 
rushed with mischievous glee under the arms of 
the next two smallest she could find, expecting her 
tall pursuer to follow. Alice writes to her sister, 
Mrs. Stewart, who had gone to Australia with her 
husband to see about their property, of the cold 
winter of 1874 : " Our Christmas Tree was a great 
success. The snow was on the ground, so snow- 
balling was our best game. We came off very 
badly, but the children enjoyed it very much, all 
the more, I daresay, from having such harmless 
foes." 

Later on a suggestion was made that Alice 
should join the Stewarts in Australia for a short 
time, but as they found they could return home 
sooner than they at first expected the plan was 
not carried out. Alice wrote to her sister on 
October 14 : " Papa does not quite like my joining 
you in Australia, and perhaps, as you are coming 



HOME LIFE 27 

home so soon, in spite of all our misgivings it is 
as well. If you were not leaving I should have 
tried harder, but I should rather pay you a visit 
in this country if I had the chance. You will get 
this about Christmas. I do wish you both a very 
happy Xmas and New Year. The thought of 
having you with us will make this look ever so 
much brighter than last. I use your concordance 
every Saturday getting ready for school. What 
do you teach your gins, and do they take in 
pictures ? " 

About this time the old minister of Anwoth 
died. Sir William Maxwell had been patron of the 
living, but the Act for the abolition of Patronage 
had been passed in 1874 and the new regulations 
then came into force for the first time in Anwoth. 
The candidates who came to preach were all 
invited to stay at Cardoness, and Alice, always 
deeply interested in the highest welfare of the 
parish, took a keen interest in all that was done. 
Voting was not such a common thing for women 
in any circumstances at that time, and though 
Alice's deep sense of reverence was hurt by the 
Church being used for any sort of meeting except 
a strictly religious one, she gives an amusing 
account of her experience on this occasion : 

" Willie and Tissie came back from Riddell just 
in time for the Election yesterday. I wish they 
would not have large meetings like that in the Kirk ; 
it seems making such a wrong use of it. We all 
went to Church yesterday at 12 o'clock. Mr. Jack 
as Moderator was there to carry on everything. 
First of all there was a very nice prayer asking for 



28 ALICE MAXWELL 

light and help. Then the election began by his 
asking all who approved of what had been done to 
stand up and hold up their right hand, which we and 
everybody else except a few did. Then Stark read 
the names of all the voters from the Roll that had 
been made up some time before, and as our names 
were called we got out of the seat, stalked up the 
church, got a little bit of paper from Papa with his 
initials in the corner of it, went into the square pew 
on the left hand side of the pulpit, wrote Mr. Black's 
name, gave it to Mr. Jack to put into the Ballot 
Box after we had folded it up so that nobody could 
see whose name was on it, and then stalked down 

again to our seat. Poor little C wanted to do 

it well, so he added his own name, his wife's name 
and the place where he lived ; and after that they 
thought it better to turn him over to Hume who 
stayed in the Manse pew to help those who could 
not do it for themselves. I did not mind it so 
much the first time, but as I was about half-way 
between the pulpit and the door coming back, I 
caught Willie's eye a mixture of gravity, amuse- 
ment, and mischief, which quite overthrew my 
gravity. Then I was so shocked with myself and 
found so many pairs of eyes looking at me that I 
felt horrid, got red and scuttled down the aisle 
feeling very glad when I got to the end at last. 
There were only one or two who seemed set upon 
a quarrel, but they were suppressed without much 
difficulty, and on the whole anywhere but in a 
Church it would have been very good and quiet. 
It was about three when we came home glad to 
think we would not have to go out of ' Woman 



HOME LIFE 29 

vocation ' again for some time. Last week, papa, 
Loui and I went up to Cassencarie for dinner. Mr. 
Bright was there, and Loui sat between him and 
Major Hannay, and made herself very delightful. 

"October 26. — Loui and I drove over to bring 
A. H. back to lunch in the gadabout. She brought 
such a queer little piece of music by Mozart to show 
me. All the treble is played with one finger of your 
right hand. It sounds rather like a musical box, 
but I am going to write for it, so you will see it when 
you come back. I have been busy learning that 
pastoral symphony of Beethoven's to play with 
Loui. Papa and the others are going to dine at 
Cally to-morrow night, and the next night three of 
us are going to Kirkdale. I am getting very stupid 
and tired of the house. A stupid cold has taken my 
voice away, or rather turned it into a croak for the 
last week or ten days. I have tried everybody's 
remedies, and at last it seems to be thinking of 
going. 

" November 26. — I hope you enjoyed reading the 
Prince Consort's Life as much as I did. I am reading 
Thoughts for the Age by the author of Amy Herbert 
now, and I think it is the nicest sermon book I ever 
read. My birthday verse for this year is the twenty- 
fourth verse of Jude. Don't you like it very much ? 
Mr. Black is not to leave America till the 4th of 
next month, so they think it will be the New Year 
before he can be inducted and settled down in the 
Parish. Tissie is still at Davenham Cottage. She 
is going to Eaton and Belmont, and Aunt Georgina 
wants her to go to London, so I don't know when 
she will be home. We are busy with our Christmas 



30 ALICE MAXWELL 

Tree things. I am getting brown tweed petticoats 
from P. Jones for my girls, and Loui is making red 
flannel shirts for her boys, and what Tissie is doing 
for her thirteen little ones I don't know." 

In January of the next year the first, and till 
Alice herself was called to God's higher service 
above thirty-nine years afterwards, the only break 
in the band of brothers and sisters occurred, and 
David, the eldest and beloved brother, passed home 
to God. Arrangements for giving dinner to the 
Presbytery, and others who had attended the 
induction service of the new minister at Anwoth 
were in preparation at Cardoness when the telegram 
with its sad news arrived and Sir William had to 
leave at once for Folkestone. Alice felt the blank 
deeply, and her loving sympathy and aid were a 
comfort to the young widow when she went to 
stay with her shortly afterwards, and help her in 
the sad task of settling into Castramont, a house 
near Cardoness which Major Maxwell had taken 
a few weeks before his death. 

But life's work and duties must be carried on in 
clouded as well as in brighter days, and on May 18 
Alice writes : 

" The primroses are coming out and look so 
lovely. There is a bazaar for the Zenana Mission 
in July, and Mr. Black has asked us to work for it. 
The new schoolhouse at Skyreburn was to be opened 
to-day. I am sure the Starks must be glad of the 
change ; their old house is so bad. I went to see 
Mrs. O'Hara and the M'Croskies last Monday. 
They have gone into their new cottages and look 
so comfortable." 



HOME LIFE 31 

A Library of interesting and suitable books had 
been collected for circulating among the people 
on the estate, and each family was personally 
visited once every four or six weeks, and the books 
changed. If trouble or sickness was in the houses 
the visits were more frequent, but the books always 
made an object for a visit, and were much valued 
by the people. They often gave an opportunity 
for talk about higher and deeper things, and gave 
rise to many kindly feelings. Mrs. O'Hara was 
one of Alice's special friends. She was a Roman 
Catholic, and Alice had visited her and brought 
help and comfort to her when she was in great 
grief over the loss of a little baby. Often after- 
wards she read the Bible to her, and made her a 
present of a Douai version for her own reading. 

Her home and the work round it was always the 
first and deepest interest of Alice's life, but visits 
to the country houses near, to her married sisters, 
and English relations generally took up some part 
of the year, though she once wrote in a letter in 
1876 : "I have promised to go to Earlston, and as 
I have been at home straight on for nearly a year 
with only three days out of it, I think I may leave 
people and things to look after themselves with a 
clear conscience." In March 1877 she went up to 
London to stay with her aunt, and writes of a 
concert in the Albert Hall : " The band of the 
Royal Irish Rifles was there, and as it was St. 
Patrick's Day the songs were mostly Irish. I did 
so enjoy it. Yesterday afternoon we had a long 
drive. They have just got such a good earnest 
clergyman, Mr. M'Gall, at the Kensington 



32 ALICE MAXWELL 

Presbyterian Church. He has such nice prayer 
meetings on Wednesdays. We were at a Blue 
Ribbon Meeting the other night and heard Mr. 
Stevenson Blackworth speak so well. Mr. Noble, I 
believe spoke after we left. I was sorry not to hear 
him, but we could not stay. You will have heard 
all the plans at home. I should enjoy going to 
Heathfield and Butterton if I am not wanted at 
home, but hope for a letter to-morrow." 

The distant view of the Isle of Man is one of 
the most beautiful features of the Cardoness shore. 
Alice and her sisters had watched it in all its varying 
phases from their childhood, sometimes dim and in- 
distinct in the misty days, sometimes looming thin 
and shadowy on the horizon, and at other times so 
clear that the woods and fields seemed almost 
visible. They had often wished to visit it, and in 
the warm summer days in July plans were made 
for a three days' expedition to the Island. The 
married sisters and their husbands, Sir William 
and Lady Gordon, and Mr. and Mrs. Stewart met 
Alice and her sister Letitia at the little moorland 
station of Dromore. From there they went by 
train to Wigtown, and as the water was too shallow 
for the old steamboat, the Countess of Galloway, 
to come in, they boarded her from a fishing-boat. 
The old ship was still strong and serviceable, but 
railways had drawn away the passengers and 
traffic, and she was less trim than she had been 
twenty years before when she carried them from 
Kirkcudbright to Liverpool for the yearly visit to 
their grandparents. The day was clear and bright, 
though the sea was inclined to be a little rough, but 



HOME LIFE 33 

Alice, who was an excellent sailor, walked the deck 
with the two brothers-in-law, throwing many good- 
natured taunts at the less energetic members of 
the party as they passed them. The steep rocky 
cliffs of the Island looked beautiful in the soft 
sunset glow and deepening twilight as they sailed 
along it, and lights were twinkling in the town when 
they reached Douglas Harbour. The ubiquitous 
German waiter was to be found everywhere in those 
days, and the travellers were much amused when, 
after vain attempts to obtain some of the cherry tart 
written down on the menu for dinner, one of the 
waiters came and announced in a hushed lugubrious 
voice " Cherry Tart is no more." 

Next day the party discovered, much to their 
delight, that quite unintentionally, but most happily, 
they had chosen the day of the year for seeing the 
Island. It was the day, the 5th of July, when the 
quaint old ceremony of the Tynwald, the pride and 
joy of the Manxman's heart, was to be held. With 
natural pride they boast that this is the oldest 
Parliament in the British Islands, a system brought 
from Iceland by their Scandinavian conquerors 
more than a thousand years ago, and carried on 
with slight alterations ever since. 

The sun was shining gloriously as the little 
party of travellers entered the train which ran 
through the soft green undulations of the Island 
to St. John's station, quite close to the sacred old 
Tynwald Mount. The crowd had already begun 
to collect. It was the fete day of the Island, and 
from all parts, by rail, in brakes and carriages and 
on foot, the crowds gathered and picnicked, and 



34 ALICE MAXWELL 

bargained, and chaffed each other as the day wore 
on. The Manx men and women in their holiday 
garb, the merry tones of the children, the good- 
natured jollity of the crowd everywhere, and the 
loud cries of the hawkers proclaiming their goods, 
made a bright scene on that sunny July day. In 
the fifteenth century among the quaint directions 
given to Sir John Stanley as to how he should 
comport himself on this important day, he was told 
that, " You shall come hither in your Royal array 
as a King ought to do by the prerogatives and 
royalties of the Land of Man, and upon the Hill of 
Tynwald sitt in a chaire with a royal cloathe and 
cushions, and your visage unto the Earl and your 
sword before you holden with the point upward." 
Not perhaps in such royal array, but in his most 
gorgeous attire, the Lieutenant-Governor appears 
in these days. The Church of St. John — a modern 
edifice — built on the site, is about 100 yards from 
Tynwald Hill or mound. The date of the Mound 
itself is not certain, but it is very ancient. Tradi- 
tion says it represents the work of the Isle of Man, 
as it was made up of earth brought from all the 
seventeen parishes into which the Island is divided. 
It is quite round, about 250 feet at the base, and is 
formed of four tiers, each three feet higher than 
the last. Following ancient precedent it was 
thickly strewn with green rushes gathered from the 
marsh lands of the Curragh hard by. 

The great function of the day began with a 
sermon in St. John's Church, after which the 
Governor, preceded by the Bishop in his robes, the 
rest of the Clergy, the Keys and other officials of 



HOME LIFE 35 

the Island, and the bearer of the ancient and much- 
valued sword of state, walked along the path then 
kept open by soldiers stationed in the Island, and 
took his seat with the Bishop on the chairs placed 
for them under the canopy on the summit of the 
Mound. After they were seated the Court was 
fenced. This is a sort of warning off — a threat of dire 
penalty to any one who should try to disturb the 
peace. In the old days the whole of the new laws 
were read over in English and in Manx, but at that 
time it was only the title of the Acts with short 
recapitulary notices, after each of which the words 
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, were called out. When the 
business on the hill was completed the procession 
formed and returned to the church again, this time 
the Governor going first. The Acts are then 
attested and the work of the Court is finished 
for the year unless some important business calls 
it together again in less festive array before the 
next 5th of July. The Acts must have the King's 
signature before being promulgated, but no English 
Act of Parliament, unless it is specifically stated, 
applies to the little Island, and no law is of any 
account there till it has been proclaimed from 
Tynwald Hill. It had been a great pleasure to the 
travellers to see the quaint, interesting, old cere- 
mony, and no one can wonder that it appeals so 
strongly to the heart of the Manx people. 

After it was over they went on to see the old 
Castle and fishing town of Peel. Some fishing- 
boats with their brown sails were coming in, looking 
as if they would be dashed to pieces in the narrow 
inlet between the rock and the harbour, but always 



36 ALICE MAXWELL 

waiting for the right moment, and sailing in swiftly 
and securely like great brown birds on the wing. 
Next morning the travellers steamed across to 
Barrow and went over the large iron-works there. 
In after days when teaching her class, Alice spoke 
to them of God's all -loving purpose in their times 
of deepest sorrow and suffering, and told them 
of the purified dazzling stream that had flowed 
down like liquid golden fire from the thrice-heated 
furnaces at Barrow. Afterwards the beautiful 
ruins of Furness Abbey were visited, and Earlston 
was reached about twelve o'clock on Saturday 
night. But Alice would not give up her large 
infant class at the Sunday School on the following 
day. She had arranged that the little pony-cart 
from Cardoness should drive over for her, and by 
ten o'clock she was in her place ready for the 
children. The Sunday School at Cardoness had 
been closed by that time, as many of the children 
had grown up, and the church seemed a better 
centre. Alice had undertaken the charge of the 
large infant class. It was a most difficult matter 
to keep fifteen or sixteen little tots from five to 
seven years of age quiet and good for an hour in 
the old-fashioned, high, stiff pews which filled the 
church, the only place in that part of the parish 
large enough to hold the children. But their 
teacher understood children thoroughly and loved 
them, and under her firm but kind and gentle rule 
the most complete order was kept. The reverently 
closed eyes of the little ones at prayer and the 
happy earnest faces showed how well the short 
school hours were being used. Her minister, Mr. 



HOME LIFE 37 

Black, often spoke gratefully of her as " his right- 
hand man " in the parish ; and one of her fellow- 
teachers still writes of how " faithfully, lovingly, 
and tactfully she managed her large and happy 
infant class for so many years, and how much 
sympathetic visiting of their homes increased the 
influence she exerted on the children." 

Mrs. Black came as the minister's young bride 
to Anwoth a few years after he was settled in the 
parish, and she and Alice became fast friends. 
Speaking of her memories of those days she says : 
" I am sorry I have no letters of Alice's ; we did 
not often exchange letters. I do know that I can 
never forget all that her sympathy and help meant 
to my husband and later to myself. The starting 
of the Mothers' Meetings was quite an event in the 
parish, and I am sure the warm response to them 
was largely due to Alice's magnetic influence. She 
gave such helpful little talks, and I can see the 
faces of the mothers as they listened to her earnest 
words, speaking the message of the Saviour's love 
and of its sufficiency for their every need. The 
day of the Mothers' Meeting was always a happy 
one for them and for us. She was the life and soul 
of the missionary work-party at the Manse. All 
she did was so whole-hearted, you felt it was ' unto 
the Lord ' all through. Strength and sweetness 
were beautifully combined in her character, and 
I am always thankful to have known and loved her. 
She was so loving and true as a friend." 

Sometimes tinkers with their carts and wares 
and thin decrepit-looking horses wandered round 
by the coast road that ran past Cardoness. They 



38 ALICE MAXWELL 

were a rough set, but not irresponsive to the touch 
of kindness. One Saturday evening a band camped 
on a piece of waste ground on the shore, and through 
the night a fresh life was added to their number. 
Alice went next day to see if anything could be 
done for the mother and her child, and as the men 
gathered round her afterwards she spoke to them 
of God's yearning love for them. Tears rolled 
down the rough face of one of the men as perhaps 
for the first time he heard in gentle tones the story 
of his Saviour's love and sacrifice. 

During the latter years of his life, especially the 
last two years, Sir William Maxwell suffered much 
from heart trouble and gout. As he was most 
abstemious in his habits, and seldom touched wine 
or spirits of any kind, the doctor pronounced it a 
clear case of poor man's gout. His two unmarried 
daughters nursed him devotedly. They were 
seldom from home, and never at the same time 
during those last years. In May 1886 Alice went 
to Edinburgh, and writes from Melville Street, 
May 24 : " You see I am away from home, but hope 
Father and Loui will follow me here soon. Now 
that he can bear a soft boot on his foot it makes 
him much more independent and able to get about. 
Yesterday I went to St. Bernard's in the afternoon 
to hear the Innellan clergyman, Dr. Matheson. 
It was such a beautiful sermon upon ' Love ' with 
a great many bits of his ' Aspirations ' coming in all 
through it. This afternoon Tissie and I have been 
busy getting ourselves and her little Alec clothes. 
He enjoyed his drive and trying on hats extremely ! 
In the evening we went to see the Exhibition 



HOME LIFE 39 

lighted up. The part called ' Old Edinburgh ' is 
wonderful, all made of wood that looks exactly like 
stone. We did not spend much time on the 
pictures as we hope to go again some day in day- 
light ; but I believe there are some very good ones 
among them. I have not been at the Assembly 
yet, but am going up with Tissie to-day as we hear 
' Home Mission,' and ' Life and Work,' are the 
subjects. The subject of Deaconesses is to be 
brought up, and I am anxious to hear what is said 
about it. ... I dined at Gloucester Place last 
night. Mr. and Mrs. Scott (Blantyre) and some 
other people were there." 

" Thursday. — Father and Loui arrived here all 
right yesterday. Father had been wonderfully 
bright and active at getting in and out of the train, 
and was very talkative all the evening after they 
arrived, first to Willie and then to Tissie and 
Horatio, and, after tea, to me in spite of our efforts 
to make him rest. Of course he is very tired this 
morning and has been lying on the sofa doing 
nothing, and watching what passes in the street in 
a dreamy comfortable kind of way. On the whole 
he is better than I expected, but it is difficult to tell 
the first day after his journey. His gout does not 
seem to interfere with his walking in the house, but 
he still wears the cloth boots." 

The change to the bracing air of Edinburgh 
seemed to do her father much good, and as his 
doctor did not see any cause for special anxiety at 
the time, Alice accepted an invitation to pay some 
visits in England. But a weak heart is never safe. 
Only a short time after she left, the sad news 



40 ALICE MAXWELL 

reached her that her Father had fallen down dead 
in the street on Sunday, on his way to the afternoon 
service in St. George's Church. It was a great shock 
to Alice ; and a great sorrow that, after so many 
years of tender, loving nursing, she should not 
have been beside him at the last. But she knew 
he was ready for the Master's call, and felt that, as 
he had always had a natural shrinking from the 
thoughts of death, God's love had spared him much 
that might have been painful and trying to him. 

His daughter-in-law, Mrs. Maxwell, wrote the 
following lines after his death : 

He thought to hear the word, perchance some token, 
From earthly lips to bid his heart rejoice. 

He heard the message, but the words were spoken 
In the sweet accents of the Master's voice. 

He thought to praise Thee in an earthly throng, 
And swell the chorus of an earthly choir, 

But he was called to learn the glad new song, 
Which Thy redeemed ones sing and never tire. 

His feeble footsteps failed to reach the portal 
And cross the threshold of the house of prayer, 

But his freed spirit winged its flight immortal 
Unchecked, unhindered to Thy temple there. 

Very lovingly he was taken back to the old 
home, and laid beside his forebears in the family 
tomb at Anwoth. 

It was the breaking up of the old home ties ; 
and, though the love and warm welcome of the dear 
ones still there always made Cardoness a place of 
very sweet rest to her, Alice felt a new life must be 
begun, and looked forth bravely to see what God 



HOME LIFE 41 

would have her to do. There had been no great 
excitement in her home life, but it had been a 
healthy life, full of useful and helpful interest and 
influence. The daily round of duty had been 
made beautiful with God's presence, and gladly and 
faithfully performed for the Master's sake. Amid 
the strength and beauty and pathos of her Galloway 
hills and glens she had learnt life's first and grandest 
lesson, and knew that life is not ease or pleasure or 
even outward success, but the doing of God's most 
Holy Will in acts of loving devotion to Him and 
the souls Christ died to redeem. 



PREPARATION 



43 



CREDO 

Not what, but Whom, I do believe, 
That, in my darkest hour of need, 
Hath comfort that no mortal creed 
To mortal man may give ; — 

Not what, but Whom ! 

For Christ is more than all the creeds, 
And His full life of gentle deeds 
Shall all the creeds outlive. 

Not what I do believe, but Whom ! 

Who walks beside me in the gloom ? 
Who shares the burden wearisome ? 
Who all the dim way doth illume, 
And bids me look beyond the tomb 
The larger life to live ? — 

Not what I do believe, 

But Whom ! 

Not what, 

But Whom ! 

John Oxenham. 



44 



CHAPTER III 

PREPARATION 

Alice Maxwell had not cavilled at the quietness 
of life in those early days at Cardoness when she 
knew that was God's place for her ; but now the 
anchors had been lifted and she felt she was free 
from all the old home ties to go to any fresh sphere 
to which her Heavenly Master called her. Some 
about her had seen the work of those home days, 
and felt she was fitted for a larger and more re- 
sponsible call. Mr. Black, minister of Anwoth, 
met Dr. Charteris at the November Church Meetings 
in Edinburgh in 1886, and heard from him how 
keenly he wished to start a house for the training 
of Deaconesses, and of his great desire to find the 
right head which he felt in such a work was all 
important. " I can tell you where to try," he said. 
" Ask Miss Alice Maxwell, and if she consents the 
success of the house will be secured." After further 
inquiry Dr. Charteris felt that Miss Maxwell was 
the right person for the post : " God's gift to the 
Church of Scotland," an earnest worker once said 
of her ; and he asked her to take charge of the work. 
It was not in any way the plan she had made for 

45 



46 ALICE MAXWELL 

her own life. Her character was always unassert- 
ive in spite of her capable businesslike mind. She 
had never wished to take the first place, but always 
been ready to fill in the gaps and give help wherever 
it was needed. In the diversity of gifts " Helpful- 
ness " seemed the gift most characteristic of her in 
the old home life, and by which she glorified her 
Lord most ; and in her room the words with the 
Master's prayer were always before her, "Father, 
glorify Thy name." She had never lived in 
Institutions or had any opportunity of studying 
their work. Her own health was never robust, and 
when Dr. Charteris's proposal reached her, she 
thought there must be others much more fitted 
than herself to undertake such an important charge. 
She offered to go as a resident, not as head ; but 
Dr. Charteris felt God was guiding his decision, and 
that her willingness to take the second place only 
made her more fit to take the first. He still pressed 
his point, and after very earnest thought and prayer 
she consented on condition that eighteen months 
were given to her to prepare, physically and 
mentally, for the task before her. 1 

Her relations felt that she needed a thorough 
rest, and were very anxious she should spend the 
following winter in a warmer climate. Mr. and 

1 A slight mistake has been made in a letter of Dr. Charteris, 
quoted in the Life of Archibald Hamilton Charteris, p. 365, where 
he writes: "Our Miss Maxwell was stopped on her way to 
Mildmay." Miss Alice Maxwell never thought of going to Mild- 
may except to gain the experience and help which were most 
kindly and generously given when she had consented to take the 
post of Head of the Deaconess House in Edinburgh. Her heart 
was always in her own country and in her own Church. 



PREPARATION 47 

Mrs. Stewart were starting on a six months' expedi- 
tion to Australia that winter, and she was strongly 
urged to accompany them, as the long voyage and 
the warm climate of Australia seemed just what 
she required. She very gladly arranged to do this, 
and in January 1887 they started in the P. & O. 
s.s. Carthage for their long voyage. The weather 
was rough as they passed down the Channel, and 
in the Bay of Biscay ; but Alice's usual good 
fortune followed her, and made her the envy of 
many of her more experienced but less happy 
fellow- voyagers. Outside conditions were pleasant 
when they reached the Mediterranean, and on 
January 24, after passing through the Suez Canal, 
she writes : " We really are having hot weather 
now, but not at all too much so on deck. Our 
cabins are decidedly close at night and the punkahs 
going at meals in the saloon. Our Astronomy 
class has grown and we always spend our evenings 
on deck. The stars are lovely, and we have a wise 
friend, Mr. Drummond, who can tell us about them. 
We have had some entertainments since we left 
Suez. Athletic sports which lasted three after- 
noons, and left the young men on board more or 
less stiff. The only thing Georgie and I joined in 
was the ' Ladies' tug ' between England and 
Australia. In the first we English had ordinary 
shoes on and were pulled over easily I am sorry to 
say ; but the second try we fought with our neigh- 
bours' goods and pulled the others over. The 
deciding tug is still to be fought. There are some 
weighty Australians to counterbalance Georgie 
and me, so it was a long hard tug and very amusing. 



48 ALICE MAXWELL 

We have had a lovely breeze all the way, and 
every one says they never knew a voyage pass so 
quickly. I am glad you have been to Belmont and 
seen Grannie. We want so much to hear how you 
found her. We have not made any decided plans 
for Colombo, but we certainly intend to go to 
Candy early on Wednesday morning if not to- 
morrow night. The Captain means to start again 
on Thursday morning, so we shall not have very 
much time." The hurried visit to Candy was 
carried out, and very much enjoyed in spite of the 
short time at the travellers' disposal. 

Melbourne, February 18. — Mrs. Stewart wrote : 
" It is very nice to have a fortnight's rest here after 
six weeks at sea. We had a very good time on the 
Carthage, but after two days on shore we went to a 
farewell luncheon on board and to say good-bye 
to the Captain, and then watched the Carthage 
start for Sydney without any regret that we were 
left behind. We intend to go by the next P. & O., 
the Massilia, to Sydney on 1st March. Lady 
Manning has asked us to stay at Wallaroy, which 
will be very nice. I don't like the idea of Robert 
going to Queensland without us, but he thinks it 
will fit better if we follow in a few weeks when the 
rush of the work is over. All the same if we are 
left we intend to enjoy ourselves as much as pos- 
sible, and I mean to try and show Alice a great 
deal of Australia. This is my idea. A fortnight 
at Wallaroy, the Blue Mountains, a week, then to 
Brisbane and Toowoomba for about ten days. 
Am I not lucky to have Alice to play about with 
instead of being left alone ? I am glad we have 



PREPARATION 49 

come to Melbourne first as it is a capital place for 
her to get her first impression of Australia. This 
hotel is on the highest ground, and from the top 
of the terrace we have a lovely view of the whole 
town. We intend to go and stay with the Greens 
at their country place next week from Wednesday 
to Saturday. It is a pretty place and a very good 
specimen of a Victorian Station." 

February 29. — Miss Maxwell writes : " We start 
again on our sea travels to-morrow, so I must write 
to you to-day. We have had an extremely nice 
time here. Robert has been in the thick of station 
talk with all kinds of people, so has not found the 
time hang heavy on his hands, and Georgie and I 
have been doing all sorts of things together. We 
have been to tea or luncheon in most of the suburbs, 
so should know Melbourne and its surroundings 
well. One day we were at Toorak, where a brother 
of Sir William Baillie lives ; such a nice house with 
a garden all round it. Last Wednesday we had a 
very busy day. In the morning Mr. Barrows, who 
came out in the Carthage with us, made up a party 
and took us all over his sugar-plum manufactory. 
Then we went to lunch with a Mrs. Rowan who 
paints flowers perfectly beautifully. After that we 
caught an afternoon train and went up to Grey- 
stones to stay with the Greens for a few days. It 
is about forty miles up country, but the railway 
goes to within six miles of them. As Greystones 
is a large stone house done up in ' high art style ' 
with all kinds of luxuries, and a lovely garden and 
grounds all round, it did not feel at all like the 
bush. They drove us over to a station with a real 

E 



50 ALICE MAXWELL 

station house on it, one day, which gave me a better 
idea of such places. Generally, of course, the 
roads were tracks with many holes and ruts. Our 
visit came to an end on Saturday after a tremendous 
thunderstorm, or rather we drove through it to the 
station. Our luggage had gone on in advance and 
we were met half-way with the report that the road 
was flooded. Fortunately Mr. Green was driving 
us himself and he took us to another station to pick 
up the train, but as we had to go through water 
as fast as possible regardless of holes, etc., you may 
imagine we were neither very clean nor very dry 
when we got to the end of our drive. We had a 
long expedition another day from here to a place 
called Fern Tree Gully, by train and coach (an 
Australian coach!). It was lovely when we got 
there, with the tree ferns over our heads and the 
water at our feet and the sun shining through the 
fronds on to the water. But we all agreed it was 
hardly worth the long journey. We had started 
at half-past seven in the morning, lunched at a 
little wayside inn, and we did not get back till late 
in the evening. Last night we went to see the 
fireworks in the cricket ground. A very good band 
played for an hour before, and you know I always 
love a band. Another evening we went to a Girls' 
Friendly Society work-party. There was such a 
nice bright-looking set of girls at it, and they were 
very pleased to hear of their Sister Friendlies in 
Scotland. There is a nice little Lodge, and it has 
one rather large room (a reading-room) where there 
are classes and the girls can go and sit at any time, 
a kitchen where they can have their meals, one 



PREPARATION 51 

bedroom for them and another for the matron who 
takes charge. 

" We have not had anything special in the way 
of Sunday services here. It is very sad to see so 
much doubting and questioning both among men 
and women, and it seems to come out in preaching 
as well as in talking to people. You must pray for 
us that we may ' hold fast ' and have the right 
word to give to those who ask for it." 

Rather serious dissensions had broken out 
between the Presbytery and the Scots Church in 
Melbourne, which must have impaired the useful- 
ness and vitality of the Church at that time, and 
may have accounted for some of the indifference 
and want of vital religion which Miss Maxwell 
notices with so much sadness. Later on the Rev. 
James Cameron Lees, D.D., was sent out by the 
Church of Scotland on a mission of helpfulness, 
and by his wise tactfulness and earnest devotion 
succeeded in putting matters on a much better 
footing. The congregation is now a large and 
flourishing one and doing good work in Melbourne. 

The Blue Mountains, about forty miles from 
Sydney, contain some of the most beautiful scenery 
in the Colony. The blue halo covering the country 
like a thin transparent veil softens the outlines and 
deepens the beauty of its many hills and valleys 
and gives its name to the district. The sisters 
went there from Sydney, and much enjoyed the 
ten days they spent among the mountains. 

March 21. — Mrs. Stewart writes : " We stayed 
with the Mannings at Wallaroy till last Friday and 
then came up here, about a four hours' journey 



52 ALICE MAXWELL 

from Sydney by rail. It was very hot in Sydney, so 
it was a great change coming to these higher regions. 
We are so glad we came here instead of to the 
hotel. We are having a kind of very clean, 
luxurious roughing. A small house close to the 
road, tiny clean bedrooms, and a little sitting-room 
with a high white-washed hearth and wood fires ; 
a wholly amiable landlady who was a servant in a 
large house. She is a very good cook and we are 
very cosy. Saturday and Sunday were very wet, 
but we did not mind as we want to get on with our 
Hughenden Bazaar things and have done so little 
since we left home. On Sunday we went in water- 
proofs to a very small church where there was a 
very ' warm ' service. The clergyman stopped us 
and spoke to us as we came out. He seemed a very 
good man, and has promised to spend a day this 
week showing us all the lions of the place, which we 
shall like. We had about a mile to walk, and fled 
home through the wet and darkness hoping we 
should not meet any tipsy bushmen. Mrs. Gibson, 
our landlady, has offered us her young man as an 
escort next Sunday ! She keeps no maids, and does 
all the work herself with the assistance of her 
' young man.' 

" There was a communion service in the evening, 
and a sermon on the text ' Unto Him that loved us 
and " loosed " us from our sins be glory.' ' Loosed ' 
is the translation in the Revised Version. I like to 
take it with that verse in Acts, ' God sent Him to 
bless you, in turning away every one of you from his 
iniquities.' 

" This is a most lovely morning fortunately, for 



PREPARATION 53 

Nellie Manning joins us at midday, and we start on 
a three or four days' expedition to see some wonder- 
ful caves about thirty miles from here. They are 
troublesome to get at, but every one tells us well 
worth the trouble. The photographs look some- 
thing like Staffa. We intend to stay here till the 
end of next week, then back to Wallaroy, and on 
April 5th by sea to Brisbane." 

The expedition was made most successfully, and 
the travellers felt they were well repaid by the 
beauty of the sight for any amount of trouble. 

The Jenolan Caves are among the most curious 
and beautiful works of Nature. They extend for 
some miles through the mountainous limestone 
formation of that part of the country. Their size is 
gigantic, and the different combinations of various 
mysterious shapes and colour seem endless. Every 
sort of object is represented by the beautiful 
stalactites that hang down from the ceiling — some- 
times spread out like the soft billowy folds of shawls 
or curtains, sometimes in thick or delicate columns 
of glistening purity or showers of daintiest tracery, 
or again rising up from the ground in the shape of 
graceful column or minaret or cathedral arch, or 
strewed on the surface like the wreck of a ruined 
city. Their names, such as the Cathedral, Shawl, 
Snowball, Jewelled Casket, and Crystal Fountain, 
describe the special beauties of many of the caves. 
A few weeks afterwards were spent at Brisbane, 
and at the end of April the party started on their 
return journey. 

" S.S. Gwalior, June 5. — Here we are on our way 
from Alexandria to Venice in the Gwalior, a very 



54 ALICE MAXWELL 

nice comfortable ship and not too crowded to be 
pleasant. We left Australia in the Shannon on 
April 27 as we intended, and had not a good time 
on board. Nearly every one was more or less 
wretched. We were told that the ship rolled badly, 
and quite agreed as to the truth of the fact except 
when she stopped to pitch instead. However all 
survived, and the last two days were very pleasant. 
The Red Sea was much cooler than we expected. 
We ought to reach Venice on Thursday or Friday, 
and expect to be in London a fortnight later. 
There are a great many Italians on board and also 
a Siamese Prince." 

" Landeck, Tyrol, June 17. — We left Venice 
on Monday. It is a most lovely place, and we spent 
a great deal of our time gliding through the canals 
in gondolas in a most restful fashion. Then we 
went to Botzen, a beautiful little place nestling 
among the Tyrol Alps. The next day to Meran, 
one of the grape-cure places. There we hired a 
carriage and drove in a most luxurious style for the 
last three days through the Tyrol. We drove up 
to Trafoi at the foot of the Ortler Spitz, 5000 feet 
above the level of the sea, and walked 2000 feet up 
the Stelvio Pass, so we had a lovely view of the 
mountains and their snowy tops. The Stelvio 
Pass is very high, and there is too much snow to 
get over it as yet. Yesterday we came here from 
Spendinning, forty miles over the Finstermatz Pass. 
A lovely, lovely drive ! This morning we start for 
Paris, and hope to arrive about 4 o'clock to-morrow 
afternoon, spend Sunday there, and cross over to 
Folkestone from Boulogne on Monday." 



PREPARATION 55 

The travellers arrived in London on June 20 as 
arranged, with bright and happy memories of the 
many interesting sights they had seen and the time 
they had spent together. 

It was Miss Maxwell's only visit to Australia, but 
in after days even in that far-off land the example 
of her deep devotion and wise helpfulness were 
lovingly remembered. Mrs. Stewart returned to 
Australia for some months in 1896. She met one 
of the residents who, after her course of training 
at the Deaconess House in George Square, had 
settled at Brisbane for family reasons. She was 
busy working for God in her Queensland home, and 
spoke with enthusiastic love of all she owed to 
Miss Maxwell, and of the spiritual help her time 
at George Square had been to her. Africans have 
been known after passing through hardships and 
dangers while on long journeys in the interior to 
kneel and kiss the sands when they returned, for 
joy at their homecoming. " So," she said, " there 
is a stone at the entrance door of the Deaconess 
House in George Square that I feel I should like 
to kneel and kiss if I ever visited George Square 
again." Sometimes when a difficult duty faced her 
and she was tempted to shirk it, she just whispered 
to herself " Miss Maxwell," and took fresh courage 
to fulfil the task. 

After her return from Australia, Miss Alice 
Maxwell spent some time visiting her relations, 
and early in November 1887 went up to London 
to begin her six months' round of the Deaconess 
Institutions in England. Miss K. H. Davidson 
had most kindly consented to take charge of the 



56 ALICE MAXWELL 

work in Edinburgh during the winter, and the 
Church of Scotland Deaconess House was tempor- 
arily opened on the 16th of November at 33 
Mayfield Gardens, a house generously offered 
to Dr. Charteris by friends interested in the 
movement. 

In the meanwhile Miss Alice Maxwell had 
settled at Mildmay and threw herself heartily into 
the work that was going on there. On November 
7 she writes : " My darling L., I must write to 
you to-night, for after this I am to go for a week 
to each of the Missions worked from this centre ; 
and as Miss Agar said just now, that means being 
out pretty well all day, and evening too. These 
missions are at different points where there is a 
mission house, where the Deaconesses have their 
meals, and stay on Saturday night to be ready for 
Sunday classes ,and meetings ; other nights they 
come back here, but late, after the others have gone 
to bed. Meantime they visit that part and have 
meetings and classes in the hall. This week I have 
been shown into things here, and intend to inquire 
still further as time goes on ; there are so many 
things done. I rather grieve over not being allowed 
to teach in the night school, but I am told they 
cannot be combined, and I was given my choice 
of school or missions, and thought the last the most 
useful for future days. I spent yesterday evening 
in the school looking on, and Miss Green, who 
manages it, took me round the classes and explained 
all the ins and outs, so that was better than nothing. 
It was so very nice getting your letter and blessing 
just after I got here, and I like to think that you 



PREPARATION 57 

are following through this time with me. Georgie 
will have told you that they have put me in the 
' Guest Chamber,' such a dear little room. It 
looks so cosy with all my photographs about it, 
and I have given myself a fern (plant) so that 
I may have a green thing to love and refresh 
my country eyes. Miss Henksmann, the house 
Deaconess, had put flowers and a text on my 
dressing-table to greet me when I arrived — was it 
not nice of her ? I am not wearing the regular 
dress, but a between. With the bonnet and long 
fur cloak I look half a hundred at least ! A bell 
rings and we get up at seven o'clock. Another 
bell at eight and down to breakfast. After that 
we come up to another room and have prayers, 
which a clergyman, a Mr. Thompson, comes in 
for. Hymn, a few verses of the Bible followed by 
remarks and a prayer, about half an hour, and very 
nice. After that ' the silent hour ' till a quarter 
past ten in our rooms, and then the work of the 
day begins and all scatter. For those who come 
back in time there are evening prayers a little 
before nine, very short, supper at nine, and bed 
as soon as you like. Loui came to see me this 
afternoon and we had a cosy hour together. Miss 
Coventry keeps capital order and Miss Agar mothers 
you. There certainly is a very kindly feeling all 
round. Yesterday afternoon I was sent to see 
Mrs. Pennefather, and received a very kindly wel- 
come from her. She told me that they began with 
three deaconesses and seventeen in the High School ; 
now I suppose over a hundred of the first, and 
between five and six hundred in the school. What 



58 ALICE MAXWELL 

a lot about what I do, but I have written as much 
to Georgie for herself and Mary, so need not do it 
again, or would soon begin to think I was the world." 

" December 12, Saturday night. — What a nice 
long letter you wrote me sometime ago, so I must 
make sure of your getting an answer by writing 
to-night. You asked how my throat was getting on ; 
quite beautifully, and the worst of the fogs seem 
to be over now for the present. My employments 
this week have been scattered, not all at one Mission, 
but much the same except on Wednesday, when I 
was sent to Walton-on-Thames to have luncheon 
with a Mrs. Ballard, and take a ladies' Bible reading 
afterwards. The thought of it was rather alarming, 
but there were only about seventeen of us, and I 
tried to forget that they were most of them old 
enough to be my grandmothers, and ought to have 
talked to me instead ! 

" Dr. Thompson, who used to take charge of the 
Edinburgh Medical Mission, lives near here and 
comes in three times a week for morning prayers, 
and his little address helps me more than anything 
else, I think. There is always something so 
practical and to the point in them. Did I give 
you Dr. Thompson's dear little bit about service ? 
' Remember God does not demand of His children 
to be perfectly successful but perfectly faithful.' 
It has been such a real help to me with all I have 
had to do since I came here, and I mean to hold it 
tight in Edinburgh when I go there. No, darling, 
these meetings and things are not easy to me as 
you ask me; but I want to learn to do it, as I 
believe it is His work for me. 



PREPARATION 59 

" I think I told you I intend going to the Windsor 
Hotel from Saturday to Monday or Tuesday. It 
is not very far from St. Thomas, 1 so Loui and I 
count upon going to Church together on Christmas 
Day. I am afraid I shall not get much more of her, 
but this will be better than nothing. They have 
had their yearly three days' Sale here this week. 
There was a lot of pottery, and needless to say my 
spendings mostly went to that, except a scribe's 
ink thing (like Willie's) which, much to every one's 
surprise, I bought. I like looking at it, for it feels 
like a bit of home. How any one can like London 
I can't imagine ; it does seem such a very horrid 
place to me the more I am in it ! All the same I 
am very happy and like the work." 

" January 6, 1888. — I have just got your letter 
as I made up my mind to write to you. I had a 
very nice time indeed with Uncle H. and Aunt A. 
I liked their party very much for it was very unball 
like. Major E. used to know our Mother, when 
a boy at Whatcroft ; of course much younger than 
she was. He and Uncle H. were very envious of 
me staying at home instead of going to the ball. 
Since I came back I have only had one day at the 
Mission, for Miss Agar has gone away for ten days 
and I have been partly turned into her. That 
means having her keys and giving out the Mission 
cards, books, etc., writing any special letters for 
Miss Coventry, always being on the spot to receive 
questions and messages, taking her young servants' 
class on Sunday afternoon and her Mothers' Meet- 

1 The Hospital where her sister, Miss Louisa Maxwell, was 
then training as a nurse. 



60 ALICE MAXWELL 

ing on Monday. Later I hope to go to stay at 
Brixton for a fortnight. It is a Branch of this, 
but, of course, on a much smaller scale, so will 
perhaps let me see more in some ways." 

" January 9. — To-day is Miss Agar's Mothers' 
Meeting ; about two hundred on the books, but I 
fancy much fewer appear. This evening I have 
my own class in the Night School. My throat is 
not very flourishing, but once over to-day it will 
have a rest, for ' being Miss Agar,' means much 
running up and down stairs, but not much speaking. 
They are all so nice to me when I have to speak of 
any rule not being attended to, and so anxious to 
do all for me in the way of little attentions that 
they do for Miss Agar." 

About the beginning of February it seemed 
doubtful whether Miss Davidson would be able to 
remain on for the six months at Mayfield Gardens ; 
yet Miss Maxwell felt the great importance of 
gathering all the knowledge and experience that 
was possible before taking charge herself, and 
therefore urged very strongly that the six months, 
which seemed all too short a time to her, should 
not be curtailed. Very greatly to her relief, Miss 
Davidson found she could make arrangements to 
remain and the difficulty passed away. 

On February 9 she writes : " Many thanks for 
your last letter. I feel quite safe now about Miss 
Davidson's remaining and am very grateful. Dr. 
Charteris wrote me a very decided letter in answer 
to mine." 

Towards the middle of the month Miss Maxwell 
moved on to the Rochester Deaconess Institution, 



PREPARATION 61 

6 Park Hill, Clappenham Park, for a fortnight, and 
writes : " I came here to-day. Three things — a 
chair, a box of china, and a box with pictures — were 
to be sent off to Edinburgh this afternoon, and I 
hope will not be very much in your way. How I 
shall love to follow them and be with you ! They 
have all received me very kindly here. The Bishop 
told them the Scotch Church was very near his 
heart and they were to make me as happy as 
possible. From what I hear it seems mostly 
nursing out-patients, but I will see as time goes on. 
(Hour for getting up 6.30, worse than Mildmay ! 
H. will feel for me.) The manner of life here is 
something like this. Bell for rising, 6.30. Private 
Meditation, 7.30 (in Chapel). Breakfast, 8. Doing 
our room and bed, 8.30. Meditation, 9. Work of 
the day begins, 9.30. Start for the district about 
10. Tea, 5. Evening prayer, 5.30. Silence, 6 
to 7.30. Supper, 8. Recreation, 8.30 to 9.45. 
Prayer and to bed, lights out, 10.30. But Mrs. 
Gilmour gave me the rules and told me to keep what 
I liked ; x so, as long as I don't interfere with others 
I don't feel strictly bound except in Chapel times. 
She reads prayers herself, and there are only three 
visitors, one probationer and herself in the house as 
yet. They are visitors till tested." 

" February 16. — Yesterday Mrs. Gilmour took 
me with her ; the others go and visit and tell her 
of any case of illness in their district ; then she, 
having gone through a year's training at Guy's 

1 As Miss Maxwell was only there for a fortnight she was of 
course in a different position from those who were staying for a 
longer period. 



62 ALICE MAXWELL 

Hospital, goes to look after it, and gets the doctor 
to attend if beyond her. It was very interesting 
going the round with her both before luncheon and 
after. She is so busy. The different tone of work 
here from Mildmay is so striking. There it was 
4 instant in season and out of season.' Here makes 
one think more of ' Patient continuance in well 
doing.' Of course both principles are in both places, 
but the one side is brought out so much more 
strongly in the different places. This principle 
fits in with my Scotch nature, but, as Miss Coventry 
said the other day to me, ' I know what you mean 
for I feel the same (she tries rather to hold some 
back) ; but we must watch over what fits into 
our natures or it will go too far.' So true, was it 
not ? There is no fear of what is uncongenial 
getting ahead of us, is there ? I sometimes wish 
there were ! We saw Loui for a few minutes. She 
certainly is looking better, and I am thankful to say 
a good deal of satisfaction has been expressed over 
her care of a special case, which is encouraging for 
her." 

From Rochester Miss Maxwell went on for ten 
days to Kilburn. She was as kindly received there, 
and the same generous assistance given to her as 
at the other Institutions ; but of course the arrange- 
ments at meals, etc., were quite different and were 
not likely to appeal to her so strongly as at Mild- 
may and Rochester. She writes : 

" The Orphanage of Mercy, Kilburn, 
London, March 1. — I came here as I intended on 
Tuesday. Of course there are no end of services 
in the Chapel, but visitors are not expected to 



PREPARATION 63 

attend any unless they like. Sister Caroline, who 
has charge of us visitors, comes and sits in our 
sitting-room sometimes and is very nice indeed. 
The rest look very nice too, but as silence in the 
passages and at meals also, where we have a separate 
table, is the rule, acquaintance with them is rather 
impossible. Under these circumstances one knows 
nothing of their life, but that would be no help to 
us, and I did not expect it. Any I have come 
across helping in the work are very pleasant and 
have lots to say. I am downstairs by 8.10 when 
there is ' Terce ' in the Chapel, mostly singing 
psalms and a few prayers, lasting ten minutes or a 
quarter of an hour. Breakfast is at 8.30, during 
which we are read to by one of the Novices. For 
the other meals we take a book with us. Supper 
is at 9 o'clock, and after that we are expected to 
retire to our rooms and have all lights out by 10.30. 
The rooms are heated with pipes, and we each have 
a bath and large can of hot water waiting for us 
when we go up. Plenty of Orphans to do all in 
our rooms, so we are told, and we feel very luxurious. 
I have been helping at the Children's Halfpenny 
Dinners, three hundred of them. They get bread 
and milk or soup and a hunch of bread and jam, a 
good deal for a halfpenny. Also Men's free dinners, 
pea soup and the third of a loaf of bread. There 
are eight or nine hundred of these, very poor and 
unemployed, fed every day. One is rather afraid 
that it might be abused, but they look dreadfully 
wretched at any rate." 

" March 2. — Now for how I spent yesterday. 
In the morning went to Shoreditch with some of 



64 ALICE MAXWELL 

the other visitors at about eleven, carried dinner 
all over the place to sick, deaf, and blind people till 
about half-past two, had a picnic dinner in the 
kitchen, then to a Mothers' Meeting, and back here 
about half-past six or seven. This morning Sister 
Frances has taken me all over the Orphanage ; the 
arrangements are as Dr. Charteris said, ' Very very 
nice.' The Sister was very bright and good- 
natured, and so ready to let me stop and ask as 
many questions ' as ever I liked.' Now I am going 
to do some folding up, etc., at the office for them, 
and after dinner I expect Georgie and Maggie, who 
are coming first to see the place and secondly to 
see me ! " 

" Kilburn, March 4. — I heard from Dr. Char- 
teris the other day, when he suggested my being 
with the Edinburgh Deaconesses by the middle of 
April, but I wrote back to say that May (the first 
if they liked) would suit me much better, for having 
been asked to come at that time I had made all my 
arrangements accordingly. I rather read between 
the lines of his letter that it was not very important. 
My cold is as good as gone, but I am so stupid with 
my back and throat when I begin to do work that 
it seems as if it would be wiser to have a month's 
rest before setting to work in earnest. I thought 
those few days with Georgie had cured all my ills 
and am rather disappointed. If I should be really 
wanted before May I would ask you to let me go 
to you sooner, as it would be necessary to pay the 
place many visits as a looker-on before taking 
charge, just to take people and things in a bit. Of 
course I would far rather go any time sooner than 



PREPARATION 65 

let the work suffer, and after this will leave it to 
you to settle with Dr. Charteris as you think right, 
and remember for me that ' God's biddings are 
God's enablings,' and don't settle too tenderly, 
darling. Also don't imagine me going about with 
a woebegone face, for I am not, and my energy is 
much envied by the other visitors here. It is rather 
wasted, for I am doing so little here all the same. 
I am going to see the Boys' Orphanage this after- 
noon with another visitor. It is some distance 
from here, so will take us the greater part of the 
afternoon. On Monday I have settled to go and 
lunch with Mrs. Davidson at Hampstead Heath. 
We have made so many attempts to meet that I 
hope to carry this one out." 

Kilburn was the last Institution Miss Maxwell 
visited. She always felt the great gain it had been 
to her to visit these Institutions and see, even for 
a few months, how the different phases of work 
were carried on in them, and was deeply grateful 
for the kind welcome and willing assistance she had 
received everywhere. 



GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER OF 
THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND 



67 



Make haste, O man, to live, 
For thou so soon must die ; 

Time hurries past thee like the breeze ; 
How swift its moments fly. 

Make haste, O man, to live ! 

To breathe, and wake, and sleep, 
To smile, to sigh, to grieve ; 

To move in idleness through earth, 
This, this is not to live — 

Make haste, O man, to live ! 

The useful, not the great, 

The thing that never dies ; 
The silent toil that is not lost, 

Set these before thine eyes. 

Make haste, O man, to live ! 

Make haste, O man, to live, 

Thy time is almost o'er ; 
Oh ! sleep not, dream not, but arise, 

The Judge is at the door. 

Make haste, O man, to live ! 



HORATIUS BONAR 



68 



CHAPTER IV 

GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER OF THE 
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND 

On the tombstone of Dr. Charteris in the little 
churchyard at Wamphray these words are inscribed : 
" Through his efforts, the Order of Deaconesses in 
the Church of Scotland was restored and the Guilds 
of the Church were instituted." Of all the great 
and valuable work Dr. Charteris carried out for his 
Church, perhaps none was better known or will be 
longer remembered than that connected with the 
Guilds and the organisation of Women's Work. 
He felt there was an immense amount of latent 
power in the Church, sometimes deflected into other 
channels, too often lying dormant in spite of the 
crying need of workers everywhere. The Life and 
Work Committee was an attempt to rouse and 
invite the Church to an effort to meet the need, 
and the Young Men's Guild, inaugurated with the 
approval of the Assembly, a further development. 
A few years later the Woman's Guild was started 
to include women of all ages, and organise them for 
work under the superintendence of the Church. 
Some opposition was at first met with in the 

69 



70 ALICE MAXWELL 

Assembly by those who feared the scheme might 
be developed on non-Protestant lines ; but Dr. 
Charteris had the members as a whole at his back, 
and a most loyal and enthusiastic Committee to 
help him to carry out his plans. 

The Congregation was to be the basis of the 
Guild Organisation. " Parishes and Congrega- 
tions," he writes in a letter to Workers in 1890, " are 
beginning to see that Chalmers and James Robert- 
son were right in arguing that the only way for 
a Christian congregation to improve its talents 
aright is to organise itself for aggressive work upon 
the churchless around, upon the heathen abroad, 
and on behalf of the poor and needy and deserving 
in their own parish and elsewhere in our own land. 
No human being can read the accounts of the work 
of the early Church recorded in the New Testament 
or consider the nature of the manifold gifts of 
the Holy Spirit enumerated in the Epistles to the 
Romans, Corinthians, and Ephesians without seeing 
that Christian believers cannot delegate to any 
one their gifts. They have to exercise those gifts 
themselves. Men must speak to men, women to 
women, the strong must find out the weak and 
help them, they that are whole must minister to 
the sick, and all who believe must ask the doubter 
and the careless to accept their testimony to 
the power of a living faith. This means careful 
organisation in a congregation lest precious talents 
be buried in a conventual napkin of diffidence, 
beneath the dust of generations of neglected duty." 
Again at a large meeting in Glasgow Dr. Charteris 
explained his ideals for women's work in the 




REV. PROFESSOE CHARTERIS, 1U>. 



To foot page 70. 



GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER 71 

Church. " We begin with the Woman's Guild. 
Here we have chiefly two classes in view: (1) The 
girls and young women ; and (2) those of greater 
experience who can guide them. The first class 
are those who have left the Sunday School and are 
entering on independent life ; whose plastic minds 
and lives are open to influences ; whose hearts crave 
social intercourse, friendship, and companionship ; 
whose sympathies lead them to activity, but who 
are often left unbefriended by their Christian 
neighbours. We would fain within the congrega- 
tion find guides for their life, friendships to elevate 
them through their social instincts, objects of 
sympathy that will make their activity Christlike 
in doing good to their fellow-creatures, and so we 
would invite them to join the Woman's Guild, 
where they will find teaching for themselves, work 
they can do for others, friends in those above them 
in social rank, ahead of them in the experiences of 
life, and especially of Christian life. For we invite 
also to the Woman's Guild those who constitute 
the second class — the matrons, the single woman 
who has position and time, the Christian woman 
to whom God has given the wonderful gift of 
influence. We invite these last that we may 
remind them of the manifold activities of the 
members of Christ ; and encourage them to take 
those young people by the hand and teach them, 
train them, advise them, lead them in the ways of 
well-doing. 

" We see how such Societies flourish and do 
good that have not the advantage of connection 
with a congregation, that are not part of the 



72 ALICE MAXWELL 

organisation of a Church — the Girls' Friendly 
Society, the Y.W.C. Association, the Haddo House 
Union, and many more. There the lady has her 
friends whom she cares for. But there is no such 
close bond between the two classes as we have in 
the Church ; they have not the same pews, the same 
services each Sunday, the same Communion Table, 
the common interest in the Minister, the worship, 
and the Missions. In the old time — it came from 
St. Paul downwards — the Christian women of 
experience were set apart to attend to the women 
of the congregation as distinctly as men, elders and 
deacons, to attend to the men. Those Societies 
have done good when Churches were not alive to 
their responsibility. God forbid that we should 
forget how much they did to supply a great want. 
They will still do good as furnishing a common 
rallying-ground for those of all Churches who have 
kindred aims. But I claim for the Church of 
Christ that it is Christ's Body, called and appointed 
and empowered to do His work upon the earth. 
I claim that it shall be free to consecrate its 
members to that blessed function of well-doing to 
the souls and bodies of men, whereby it shall make up 
that which is still behind of the sufferings of Christ. 
I do not confine Christian work to Church work : 
there is much Christian work well worthy of the 
name which the Church has lost the chance of 
doing, but which, thank God, is done by individual 
Christians. 

" Yet let us hold firmly the great New Testa- 
ment principle, which will not indeed grudge to 
recognise Christian work anywhere, but will widely 






GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER 73 

extend the sphere of the work of the Church of 
Christ. The Church is the Society formed and 
maintained by the Saviour to do His work in the 
world, and as a Society it has a right to call on its 
members that they who are strong bear the in- 
firmities of the weak. This is to be like Him. He 
came to do the Will of Him that sent Him into the 
world and to finish His work. And He said, ' As 
Thou hast sent Me into the world, so have I also 
sent them into the world.' 

" And as all God's commands are inspirations 
and all His calls come with power given to obey 
them — calls to men to leave all and follow Him or 
to come forth from the grave itself — this call of 
His to us, to bear each other's burdens, can be 
obeyed, and is best obeyed to the full, when we act 
as Members of His Body — as in and of His Church. 
I fully claim for our Woman's Guild that it makes 
it possible for a woman to do a woman's work as 
no other Union can." 

As the apex, the coping-stone of the whole 
structure or organisation, Dr. Charteris wished to 
see the Order of Deaconesses restored. He looked 
upon it as one of the most ancient Orders of the 
Church, and maintained that the sentence in 
Romans xvi. 1 should be translated " Phoebe, the 
Deaconess of the Church," instead of " the Servant 
of the Church." But he always pressed those who 
undertook this office to remember that Deaconess 
meant a female servant, not a servant of Christ 
only but of Christ's Church also. The Deaconesses 
of the early Church were busy workers and earnest 
labourers who took their share in the outward life 



74 ALICE MAXWELL 

and active ministries of the Church. Phoebe must 
have travelled from Cenchrea to Rome on Church 
business and taken her part in the important 
affairs connected with the Churches, as St. Paul 
exhorts his converts at Rome to receive her in the 
Lord and assist her " in whatsoever business " she 
had need of them. It was only in later days that 
the office of Deaconess was absorbed in convents 
and nunneries and fenced round with laws which 
enforced celibacy and, in many cases, forbade its 
votaries to mix in the outside business and com- 
panionships of the Church and Congregation. 

Dr. Charteris was anxious to study the principles 
and investigate the different plans carried out by 
other Protestant Churches for restoring this Order. 
In company with the Rev. John M'Murtrie, D.D., 
also greatly interested in the development of this 
work in the Church of Scotland, he visited the 
large Deaconess Institute at Mildmay, Hurley 
House (Dr. and Mrs. Grattan Quinn), Tottenham 
(Dr. Laseron), Dr. Barnardo's Homes, the London 
Bible Women's Mission, the Orphanage of Mercy, 
Kilburn ; and the City Mission Work of Deaconesses 
in Manchester — the last under the superintendence 
of Mr. MacGill, an old member of the Life and 
Work Committee. He had before gone over some 
of the best Deaconess establishments in Germany, 
and seen the work carried on in the Hospital at 
Alexandria, which had greatly impressed him. 
Everywhere the visitors were received with the 
greatest kindness and all possible information 
given to them. 

But in one important point Dr. Charteris 



GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER 75 

considered there had been a decline from the stand- 
point of the early Church. The Deaconess Institu- 
tions he had visited were all the results of individual 
effort, and though valued and encouraged had not, 
as in the earliest days, the imprimatur of the Church 
resting on them. Dr. Charteris and his Committee 
were anxious that the Order of Deaconesses in 
Scotland should be begun with the approval of the 
Church and under the direction of the General 
Assembly. It was with very great thankfulness 
they found that there was not a dissentient voice 
when in 1888 the Regulations they had drawn up 
were proposed and adopted by the Assembly. 

There was much discussion whether Deaconesses 
should be set apart by Presbyteries or Kirk- 
Sessions, but, by a majority of the Assembly, the 
decision was in favour of Kirk-Sessions. Applica- 
tion for the office of a Deaconess was to be made 
to the Kirk-Session of the parish in which the 
applicant had resided for six months immediately 
preceding that application. Those who were ad- 
mitted to the office of Deaconess were to promise 
to devote themselves as long as they held such 
office to Christian work in connection with the 
Church as the chief object of their life, and to be 
subject to the Courts of the Church, and in particular 
to the Kirk-Session of the parish in which they 
worked. Along with the application, a certificate 
was to be sent from a Committee of the General 
Assembly entrusted with this duty, stating that 
candidates were qualified in respect of education, 
and that they had had experience in Christian work, 
or training in the Deaconess Institution and Train- 



70 ALICE MAXWELL 

ing Home to the extent required by the General 
Assembly. Deaconesses were to be set apart at a 
public religious service, the time and place to be 
appointed and duly intimated by the Kirk-Session 
of their parish. A Deaconess might resign the office 
of Deaconess by giving intimation to the Kirk- 
Session of the parish in which she worked. Kirk- 
Sessions were to have the power of depriving any 
person of the office of Deaconess on sufficient cause 
shown, provided the consent of the Presbytery 
had been first obtained and that the resolution 
to apply for that consent had been intimated to 
the Committee of the Assembly charged with the 
oversight of the work. 

Three questions, to each of which they answered 
" I do," were asked of Deaconesses at the service 
in which they were set apart. 

" Do you desire to be set apart as a Deaconess, 
and as such to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the 
Church which is His Body ? " 

" Do you promise, as a Deaconess of the Church 
of Scotland, to work in connection with that Church, 
subject to its Courts, and in particular to the Kirk- 
Session of the Parish in which you work ? " 

" Do you humbly engage, in the strength and 
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, 
faithfully and prayerfully to discharge the duties 
of this office ? " 

Dr. Charteris did not expect a very large number 
to be enrolled in the office of Deaconess. There 
were comparatively few whose circumstance made 
it possible for them " to devote themselves to 
Christian work connected with the Church as the 



GUILDS AND DEACONESS ORDER 77 

chief object of their life," and yet they seemed the 
only women whom it was desirable to set apart as 
Deaconesses. For the numerous earnest and 
valued workers whose ordinary household and 
family duties prevented them making Church work, 
so called, the chief object of their life, the grade of 
the Women Workers was provided in the Guild. 

Deaconesses were intended to have a great field 
of usefulness and to introduce a new standard of 
work. It may mean a good deal to those who add 
the care of a score or even a dozen families to their 
home work, and yet it often amounts to very little. 
Deaconesses would be able to show how powerful 
persistent attention to the poor and forlorn and 
disheartened is ; and, in countless ways, it was 
hoped they would prove an uplifting influence to 
the people among whom they laboured. Prayer 
for one another, for their own Church, and for the 
increase of God's Kingdom throughout the world, 
service for their Lord, or preparation for it, and 
when possible meetings for prayer and Bible study, 
healthy social intercourse and annual conferences 
were to be the links to bind the different Branches 
and members of the Woman's Guild together. 

The true watchword of the whole Guild, especi- 
ally of the Order of Deaconesses, might be written 
in the Bible words, "As we have therefore oppor- 
tunity, let us do good unto all men." The ideal of 
its founders was very high. Their dream and their 
faith was that with the blessing and favour of God, 
the life of the Church, and through it of the country, 
would be deepened and spiritualised — a Training 
Home carried on where women workers both for 



78 ALICE MAXWELL 

Home and Foreign fields could be trained and 
tested for at least one year, or two when possible ; 
where those who wished for a shorter period of 
training to increase their usefulness in their home 
and parishes might come as visitors ; and where all 
Christian workers would find sympathy and welcome. 
A Deaconess Hospital was also contemplated, with 
many other schemes to perfect and complete the 
life-giving agencies of the Church. It was to do her 
part in helping to carry out these ideals that Alice 
Maxwell henceforth gave all the strength and 
devotion of her character. 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 



79 



We are not here to play, to dream, to drift ; 
We have hard work to do and loads to lift. 
Shun not the struggle, face it — 
'Tis God's Gift. 

Whittier. 



For each man captains his own Soul, 

And chooses his own Crew, 
But the Pilot knows the Unknown Seas, 

And He will bring us through. 

So — Ho for the Pilot's orders, 

Whatever course He makes ! 
For He sees beyond the sky-line, 

And He never makes mistakes. 

John Oxenham. 



80 



CHAPTER V 

DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 

Dr. Charteris compared the Woman's Guild to a 
pyramid, the solid mass of earnest devoted Guild 
members as the basis of the structure ; Guild 
leaders taking more important and responsible 
positions, and Deaconesses living themselves at the 
high level of Christian consecration, with time and 
God's all-sufficient grace to enable them to draw 
up other souls to their own high purpose of love 
and service. 

In the July number of Life and Work of 1886, 
Dr. M'Murtrie had written under the heading of 
Deaconesses : " No part of the field is more 
important than this ; and at the same time there 
is no part in which we are so entirely dependent 
on light and leading from God. There is ample 
authority for the office of Deaconess in the New 
Testament and in the practice of the early Church. 
We want neither a Romanist nor an Anglican but 
a truly Scottish and Scriptural Sisterhood. The 
Institution must be first of all a Home, from which 
those ladies may go forth to their labour near at 
hand or far away, in parishes which have requested 

81 G 



82 ALICE MAXWELL 

their services, and to which they may come back 
for rest and strength. It must also be a Training 
House. We have Deaconesses now in the Church 
of Scotland in everything but the name, and they 
should be accepted as they are; but none know 
better than they do, what a boon to them and to 
their work early training would have been. It 
must be a Probation House, where a lady giving 
herself to Christian work may find out what she 
is best fitted for, and where a wise kind overseer 
may distinguish between the passing fancy of a 
warm-hearted or disappointed girl and the genuine 
consecration which will prevent hard and common- 
place work from becoming irksome. Moreover, it 
should belong to all the Guild as a centre from 
which instruction may be organised for those 
who are not Deaconesses. And it should prepare 
female missionaries for the Foreign field. It is not 
necessary that the Institution should be begun on 
a large scale. Let it be well planted and let it 
grow." 

To try and fulfil these hopes, Alice Maxwell set 
herself with all the earnestness of a strong and 
steadfast purpose when she began her work as head 
of the Deaconess House, at Mayfield Gardens, on 
the first of May 1888. Looking back twenty-five 
years, another, who had worked under her and with 
her, says : " I can remember our beloved Head, 
young, enthusiastic, and always active beyond her 
strength. Those first years of the new movement 
could not have been easy. Miss Maxwell came 
from the ordinary life of a lady of that time in a 
large country house to the strenuous life of an 






DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 83 

Institution, with its daily duties and its heavy 
responsibilities. 

" The work of training Home and Foreign 
missionaries was then in its infancy, and much had 
to be learned by hard experience. Miss Maxwell 
faced the task with resolute courage, and gave all 
her devotion and energy to it. She believed in 
it, loved it, and the one impression of her that all 
received and that could not escape the dullest, was 
that whatever she did, she did literally with all her 
might. She never said or thought of anything, 
' That is good enough,' or ' That will do ' ; with her 
it was the very best, and she was not satisfied until 
the very best was given. Too often it was at the 
undue expenditure of health and strength. Those 
who benefited by her Bible Classes scarcely knew 
what trouble she took to prepare for them or to 
make them all she considered they ought to be. 
It did not matter what the work in hand was, 
Mothers' Meeting address, Girls' Bible Class lesson, 
or a lecture for her own residents, each received her 
whole attention and ability." 

But she realised very deeply the difficulties and 
perplexities that might surround the new effort, and 
the need of God's special light and leading for 
every step of the way. Two illuminated cards with 
the words " Have faith in God," " Is anything too 
hard for the Lord?"; and "Counsellor," "The 
Lord shall guide thee continually," " I have set 
the Lord alway before me," always hung in her 
private sitting-room, where her eyes could con- 
stantly rest on them and draw from them the 
strength and courage that were so often needed. 



84 ALICE MAXWELL 

For she was never strong, and few who saw 
her bright colour, too frequently the sign of 
over-exertion, not of health, and her cheery smile, 
could realise the constant effort and the brave 
endurance that were often needed to win through 
the day. 

The house at Mayfield Gardens had only been 
taken for six months, but the kind friends to whom 
it belonged extended the time for a few months 
longer till more permanent quarters could be 
secured. There was much discussion over the best 
place for the Deaconess House. Some were 
anxious it should be on the outskirts of the town, 
away from the close atmosphere of crowded streets ; 
but Miss Maxwell always felt, if the work of the 
district were to be done properly and the residents 
trained to take a true Christlike interest in the 
highest life of their people, that they must live near 
enough to be in close touch with them. 

She appreciated the gain of every store of 
knowledge, of every talent and means that made 
Christ's children more able to glorify the Master 
and win gems for the Saviour's crown ; but that 
was the great aim of life for her, and no thought of 
personal ease or pleasure was allowed to come in its 
way. One of her residents remembers in those 
early days how she had wished to give up a duty 
undertaken before, for a pleasure that had suddenly 
opened out to her. Very gently, very lovingly, 
but very firmly she was shown that duty must always 
take the first place in the life of God's children. It 
seemed impossible to put it anywhere else, as Miss 
Maxwell spoke of the joy of service and obedience 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 85 

to the will of God. And how well that lesson was 
learned a holy, unselfish life is showing still. 

The place finally decided on was 41 George 
Square, a roomy, well-built house, with some of the 
old Adam mantelpieces still intact and adding their 
touch of beauty and refinement to the rooms. 
In the quaint old Square, the earliest residence of 
the well-to-do inhabitants of Edinburgh when they 
moved from the closes of the High Street, many 
of the advantages of both town and suburb were 
combined. It was near the work of the district ; 
a few minutes' walk took the workers to the homes 
of their people ; the houses were well built and com- 
fortable, and the beautiful Square garden a place 
of rest and refreshment to them at any leisure 
moments. The Deaconess Headquarters remained 
at 41 George Square for two years, and then moved 
to 27, which has been bought with the house 
adjoining, and is now the property of the Life 
and Work Committee of the Church of Scotland. 

The move from Mayfield Gardens was made in 
September 1888, and by the end of the month Miss 
Maxwell was settled in George Square and ready to 
welcome her household and start the work of the 
new session. Her own sitting-room was filled with 
many treasures brought from the old home at 
Cardoness ; and the large bookcase and comfortable 
arm-chairs and restful sofas in the drawing-room 
still speak of the kind interest of friends who gladly 
answered Mrs. Charteris' appeal in Life and Work for 
these things. " But most of all and very earnestly," 
she writes at the end of that appeal, " we ask for 
the prayers of all who are interested in this new 



86 ALICE MAXWELL 

home, that God would abide in it and bless it and 
make it a blessing. Though we ask this last we 
ask it more than all." 

There were not many rules in the Deaconess 
House, as Miss Maxwell always tried to make it as 
much of a Home as possible, but some were natur- 
ally indispensable in an Institution of that kind. 
At first a few rules were framed and hung up in one 
of the public rooms, but later on even this was 
dispensed with. Miss Maxwell kept the spirit of 
the rules loyally herself and expected others to do 
the same, and there were few who did not respond 
to her wise and loving influence. Some of her 
first students still speak even in those early days 
of her gentle authority which there seldom seemed 
any wish to dispute. It was never assertive, but 
seemed to come to her naturally, and she never 
asked from others a spirit of obedience or self- 
denial which she did not strive to carry out in her 
own life. She was " beautifully appreciative," 
one has written, of any true effort after a fuller and 
higher service, and those with her felt they could 
always count on her sympathy and help. In an 
Institution such as the Deaconess House, with so 
many different characters passing through it, it 
must have been difficult sometimes to keep free 
of the spirit of favouritism ; but Miss Maxwell, 
whatever her personal feelings might be, never 
allowed herself to show it or be swayed by it in any 
way, and those who were trained by her could 
always rely on her absolute justice and fairness. 

She deeply appreciated the love and devotion 
that were so often given to her, but her Heavenly 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 87 

Master's honour was her first aim, and her work was 
done in the spirit of His words, " Call no man your 
father upon the earth ; for one is your Father, which 
is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters : for one 
is your Master, even Christ." 

She longed to win those with her for Christ, not 
for herself ; to lead them to rest, not on any human 
strength, but on the perfect and all-sufficient 
strength of Christ their Lord. One earnest worker 
wondered why Miss Maxwell urged her to remain a 
second year at the Deaconess House. Afterwards 
she recognised that she had been leaning too much 
on human strength, and could thank the wise, 
tender love that strove to hold her back till, in a 
strength drawn from God, she was ready to face 
the difficulties and problems of a missionary's life. 

The day began at George Square with breakfast 
at half-past eight and prayers at nine. Prayers 
occupied quite a short time, but the quiet simple 
reverence with which they were conducted often 
brought God very close to the workers and made 
them understand, as they had never done before, 
the deep, wonderful meaning and power of prayer. 
There were books of family prayers at George 
Square, but for many years they were only used 
occasionally in the evening when the strain of the 
day had been unusually heavy. Generally, Miss 
Maxwell's prayers were extemporary both in the 
House and always in her district visiting. 1 The 
mothers in the midst of their often trying and weary 
life in the Pleasance felt the power and peace- 
giving influence of those prayers, and one mother in 

1 See Appendix B. 



88 ALICE MAXWELL 

homely words, but in deepest reverence, said to a 
friend who was visiting her, " When Miss Maxwell 
says a prayer you just ken she is awfu' friends 
wi' God." The residents felt the same in the 
Deaconess House. One of them has written : 
" They made us feel that she walked with God. 
You felt that you were on holy ground when she 
prayed with or for you, and very near the presence 
of God who heareth prayer." Prayer was the 
great refuge and resource of her own life, and she 
longed for others to share in its joy and power. 
And she was very reverent, with the grand simple 
reverence of the best of her national traditions. 
Another has written : " She never could bear any- 
thing that savoured of being slipshod or slovenly 
in any sense, and especially in making arrangements 
for a religious service she was scrupulously anxious 
that all should be reverent and seemly. Before the 
Charteris Memorial Church was built, the prepara- 
tions for the celebration of the Lord's Supper often 
had to be made from the Deaconess House. There 
were no bookboards in the Mission Hall on which 
the ordinary white communion cloths could be 
spread, but Miss Maxwell made use of a plan she 
had seen adopted on the Continent. Strips of 
clean white linen were neatly fastened to the tops 
of the wooden benches, and gave an additional 
touch of reverence and sacredness to the service. 
But she was broad-minded, and her own deep 
spirit of reverence never prevented her appreciating 
the real earnestness and devotion of others who 
might show it in other ways from her own." 
Services interrupted with loud hallelujahs and other 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 89 

sounds which seemed to take away from their 
sacredness never appealed to her, but she could see 
the earnest love that so often lay beneath that 
outward expression, and rejoice in the work that 
was being done in the Master's love and in the 
Master's name. 

Her day from breakfast at half-past eight till 
evening prayer at half-past nine was very full of 
work, but she was always ready to receive and help 
those who came to her, to her own private sitting- 
room for a quiet talk over their difficulties. Another 
of her residents has written : " Miss Maxwell took 
such infinite pains to help us, and it was wonderful 
how difficulties seemed to fly when taken to her. So 
skilfully and, oh, so gently she put her loving 
tender finger on the sore place or on the difficulty 
that was troubling us ! We used to wonder at the 
absence of rush and flurry in such a strenuous life 
as hers, but all the ways of her household were so 
beautifully ordered and so methodically arranged. 
No simplest duty was forgot. ' Naught that could 
set one heart at ease was low esteemed in her eyes.' 
During the winter I was there the Deaconess House 
was filled to overflowing, yet she seemed to study 
and take special care of each one in it. She grudged 
no trouble for those who were not well, and would 
often be in their room at half-past seven in the 
morning, taking their temperature and making sure 
that they were able to get up. Even the meals 
were planned with consideration for those who 
might be suffering from some real delicacy, and 
for such a household as hers this was no slight 
labour." 



90 ALICE MAXWELL 

A quiet hour was kept free for the residents 
from half-past nine to half-past ten for private Bible 
study, and kindly advice and encouragement was 
always ready for those to whom any real Bible study 
proved a new and difficult task. 

Her own reverence and love for God's holy Word 
was deep and strong. She accepted it with simple 
faith as her guide in every perplexity and her stay 
in every hour of difficulty and sorrow. Her Bible 
readings and classes for the residents were gener- 
ally held in the morning at eleven o'clock and were 
greatly valued. She spared no time or trouble to 
make them useful, interesting, and practical, and 
was rewarded by the new devotion to God's Word 
which was awakened in many hearts and deepened 
in others. To some the Bible became almost a 
new book as they began to learn its glorious 
message of salvation and hope and power from her 
lips and read it in her life. " Grateful indeed are 
the memories her pupils cherish of Miss Maxwell's 
Bible classes." " They were red-letter days in the 
lives of many of us residents," those who benefited 
by them have testified. The subjects taken were 
very varied. In the short time spent, sometimes 
not one year, never more than two years, at the 
Deaconess House, and the other subjects necessary 
for the equipment of a worker, it was not possible to 
go through the whole Bible even in a cursory way ; 
but the Gospels, the Book of Acts, several of the 
Epistles, some books of the Old Testament and 
many of its outstanding characters were always 
studied. 

One set of Bible readings was on " Prayer and 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 91 

its Uses " by the different Persons of the Bible. 
Esther, who found prayer " a woman's great 
resource in a time of danger for herself, her rela- 
tions, and her nation," was one of the subjects of 
this series. 

" Some Old Testament Workers and their Work : 
its failures, its victories, and its lessons," was another 
series. Abel, Noah, and Joseph were among the 
characters chosen, and in the Notes on them we 
read : 

" A clear sight of three things are needed, I think, 
to make an earnest worker for God : 

" Sin — its danger — its remedy. 

" In Noah we see very strongly the obedience 
of faith — a blind obedience. ' Noah being warned 
of God of things not seen as yet, prepared an ark 
to the saving of his house,' Heb. xi. 7. Would 
you and I lead lives of holy influence for Christ ? 
Let us stand on the shedding of blood as Abel, 
Heb. ix. 22 ; on the obedience of faith as Noah, 
leaving to God the results, where, when, how. 

" Joseph. A life with many trials, not imaginary, 
but very real ones. How were they met ? Joseph 
was true under all circumstances, as Son, Slave, 
Prisoner, Ruler. The keynote of his life is in those 
words, 'He endured as seeing Him who is invis- 
ible.' There was no question with him as with the 
Israelites at Rephidim, ' Is the Lord among us, or 
not ? ' Ex. xvii. 7. The perpetual sense of the 
presence of God kept him true, strong, and peace- 
ful; Isa. xxvi. 3; xxviii. 16. Through it we see 
the strength and power of his witness for God. 
There was no kicking against God's plans, but a 



92 ALICE MAXWELL 

steady settling down to fulfil present duties. He 
was serving God through his earthly masters, so 
that all acknowledged the Lord was with him : Gen. 
xxxix. 3, 5, 21, 23; xli. 38." 

Dr. Charteris, the originator of the Life and 
Work Committee, whose efforts touch the life of 
the Church at so many points, and founder of 
the Church of Scotland Woman's Guild, with 
its different grades of Guild Members, Women 
Workers, and Deaconesses, was a frequent visitor 
at the Home and took an oversight of all the 
work. His words of earnest devotion and kind 
and tactful advice were a constant inspiration 
to those who learned and laboured there. "It is 
not a dream," he wrote, "though it is an ideal, the 
picture we would draw of trained women workers, 
of organised women's work. In life the real 
has its true basis in the ideal. A Church with 
no ideal, a Minister with none, has ceased to be 
Christian. Is not an ideal congregation, as a 
friend of mine lately sketched it, something to 
work up to, or even to work towards " ? The 
Church, he felt, which should have most of 
such idealising congregations, which would bear 
the heaviest social burdens and help to solve 
most of the social problems, must gain the 
richest blessing for itself and the world ; and he 
longed to see his own beloved Church leading in 
the van. 

Dr. Charteris had a great power of lifting up 
those he was working with to his own high level, 
by his ready comradeship and quick acknowledg- 
ment of the best that was in them. His broad 




LADY GRISELL BAILLIE, 
First Deaconess of the Church of Scotj \\i>. 



ro / <-•■ pag< 98, 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 93 

statesmanship and large ideals made him a true 
leader. Miss Maxwell looked on him in every 
way as head of the Deaconess movement, and 
admired his sound judgment and far-seeing vision. 
It was a pleasure to her to give her loyal support 
to his wishes and plans, but he was always ready 
to listen to her views on any subject and discuss 
the arrangements to be made with her. Many 
summer evenings were spent walking up and 
down the approach to Cameron House, near 
Edinburgh, or at Wamphray, and, still later, at 
Peebles, talking together over plans and means 
for carrying on God's work in the Church and 
land they both loved. 

A great step forward in the organisation of 
Women's Work was taken when, on the ninth 
of December, in her own parish church, among 
the people who loved her and to whom she had 
ministered for so long, Lady Grisell Baillie was 
set apart as the first Deaconess of the Church 
of Scotland. It was with " joy and gladness " 
she answered the call of her country's Church, and 
wrote afterwards : " It was all joy to me. What 
an honour to be counted worthy of being an office- 
bearer in the Church of my Fathers. I thank 
God with all my heart." About a month after- 
wards, on the thirteenth January 1889, Miss 
K. H. Davidson and Miss Alice Maxwell were 
set apart with the same simple service in St. 
Cuthbert's Church. Dr. MacGregor gave an 
address on " Phoebe, the servant of the Church at 
Cenchrea," and gladly they too gave the promise, 
in the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ their Lord 



94 ALICE MAXWELL 

and Master, to discharge the duties of their office. 
" These then," Dr. W. Robertson, ever a true and 
helpful friend of the movement, writes, " were our 
first Deaconesses. Each represents a different 
type of Deaconess work. Lady Grisell Baillie will 
continue as before her public ministries among 
the people of her own parish, ever gladly at the 
call of the Church's need there ; Miss Davidson's 
mission is to be at the service of every minister 
who desires help in organising or carrying on 
work among the women of his parish, forming 
Branches of the Woman's Guild, or addressing 
meetings of women in connection with evangel- 
istic and missionary work ; while Miss Maxwell, 
in the Training House — with its classes, lectures, 
and missionary activities — is rearing a band of 
trained workers through whose life and labours 
the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ will be furthered 
both in our own land and in the Mission field." 
One regret was expressed which all must have 
shared, that Dr. Charteris, laid aside by illness 
and obliged to spend the winter abroad at Meran, 
could not be present to see in these services the 
realisation of so many hopes. But if not in 
person, he was certainly present in spirit, and the 
letter he wrote to Miss Maxwell is full of wise and 
sympathetic counsel : 

" Our prayers will join with those rising up 
from grey old St. Cuthbert's. To yourself it is 
a marked epoch. If I had been at home I would 
have read you bits of the letter of your sole pre- 
decessor, Lady Grisell Baillie. You don't care 
much for words. You want to go to the heart 



DEACONESS HOUSE AND TRAINING 95 

of things. But this thing itself, the recognition 
of a woman's Christian work as a part of the 
mission of the Church of Christ, is a very sacred 
step in advance. It is important for our dear 
old Kirk : it is very important for you. It gives 
you no new duty. It does lay a certain amount 
of new responsibility on you. But the responsi- 
bility is lightened by the claim you will therefore 
have upon the Church which has called you. 
You are henceforth no solitary volunteer : you 
are on the staff of the army, and you have a right 
to sympathy and support from all the others 
who are pledged to the Leader and Captain. 
In your own daily duty you have a considerable 
burden. You feel that you keep watch in the 
advance guard. ' Ye have need of patience.' 
We all need it in this work of yours : but you 
have identified yourself with the work so that, 
while others watch from amid their other special 
work, you have to watch at the work itself. You 
and the House are one. I have always felt that 
in our slow old Kirk and socially conservative 
country, it will be longer before training is recog- 
nised than before ordination of Deaconesses and 
organisation of ordinary workers is accepted. So 
that I know yours is the hardest task. It is some 
relief to you that the Home is the centre of out- 
door work, and by and by you will have maidens 
round you all pressing to be servants of the Church 
as Phoebe was ; but meanwhile, just because you 
have the hardest task, you have also the fullest 
sympathy while you labour and wait at the head 
of our Home. And I wish I could tell you how 



96 ALICE MAXWELL 

much I appreciate the way in which you have 
done all you had to do ; with your hand, your 
head, and your pen. Now God bless you and make 
you a blessing. I wish you were stronger : I 
pray you may be strengthened." 



MISSIONARY TRAINING AND 
DISTRICT WORK 



97 H 



Go, labour on ; spend and be spent, — 

Thy joy to do the Father's will ; 
It is the way the Master went, 

Should not the servant tread it still ? 

Men die in darkness at your side, 
Without a hope to cheer the tomb ; 

Take up the torch and wave it wide, 

The torch that lights time's thickest gloom. 

Toil on, faint not, keep watch and pray — 

Be wise the erring soul to win ; 
Go forth into the world's highway, 

Compel the wanderer to come in. 

Horatius Bon ah. 



CHAPTER VI 

MISSIONARY TRAINING AND DISTRICT WORK 

Candidates for both Home and Foreign Mission 
work were received into the House ; and some who 
had entered the Home doubtful as to their true 
vocation, heard God's call while training at the 
Deaconess House, and are now among our most 
earnest workers in the Foreign Mission fields. 

Miss Maxwell always felt strongly the advantage 
of having Home and Foreign missionaries training 
together. It interested them in each other's work, 
and those who remained in parishes at home took 
away personal reminiscences of the missionary can- 
didates trained with them which made the work 
of the Foreign field a very real fact to them. Her 
own interest in Foreign Missions was very keen. 
A series of Mission Lectures was always in the 
curriculum for the year, and visits from the mission- 
aries on furlough were one of the great pleasures of 
the Deaconess House. Many were her own personal 
friends, and as the years went on, and those who 
had been trained went out to take up their work, 
there were few places in the Mission field of the 
Church of Scotland where the Training Home was 

99 



100 ALICE MAXWELL 

not represented in larger or smaller numbers. She 
had a great power of interesting both grown-up 
people and children in Missions, and in her own 
Bible Class for working-girls always had some days 
specially kept for them. When she went on visits, 
Mission post cards, booklets, and small interesting 
curios were always taken with her, and many 
interesting moments, sometimes half-hours, spent 
both for herself and others looking over them. She 
liked to remember those who had been with her at 
Christmas and the New Year, and even in her busiest 
years a card, with special words lovingly chosen 
for each, was sent out, and often proved a help and 
strength to a brave but weary worker. They were 
always posted in good time — not an easy thing 
to remember where foreign postage is concerned. 
She was punctual and methodical and always tidy 
herself ; and much time was saved, as she always 
knew where to put her hand on the books and 
papers she needed. She realised the special ad- 
vantage of these things in institution or any life 
where people are working together, and strove to 
impress the real need of them on all she was 
training. 

One student, who had entered the Deaconess 
House undecided about her future and who after- 
wards became a most earnest missionary worker, 
writes that her most cherished memory of Miss 
Maxwell is at the time she confided to her her 
resolve to be a missionary to the heathen. The 
warm appreciation with which her decision was met, 
and the keen, ready sympathy shown in discussing 
all the details, left an impression on her mind 




MISS ALICE MAXWELL, D.C.S., 
First Sii>erintendent of the Deaconess House. 



To fwx pnye 100 



MISSIONARY TRAINING 101 

which can never be forgotten. Later on, the kind, 
helpful letters which followed her to the Mission 
field showed Miss Maxwell's constant loving in- 
terest in the work of an old probationer as well 
as her deep devotion to the cause of Foreign 
Missions. 

The subjects of the lectures given at the Deaconess 
House were very varied, and ministers both of 
Edinburgh churches and country parishes were 
most kind in giving their help. The programme for 
the session of 1889-90 contained twelve lectures on 
Christian doctrines by Dr. Dodds of Corstorphine, 
Bible instruction by twelve other ministers, mis- 
sionary addresses from twelve ladies and gentlemen, 
six of whom had been Foreign Missionaries and two 
who were Deaconesses, the Superintendent's Bible 
classes twice a week, and training in practical 
Home Mission work, such as Sunday Schools, 
children's meetings, Temperance work, medical 
hygiene, district visiting, reading aloud, visiting the 
sick, mothers' meetings, sewing-classes, singing, etc. 

Many outside workers came to help in those 
agencies. Mrs. Graham Murray of Stenton for 
many years took charge of the Mothers' Meeting 
in the Pleasance, and by her genial kindness and 
wise, practical advice gave many a tried and weary 
mother new heart to face life's battle. 

A large and isolated district of the Pleasance 
belonging to the old Parish of St. Cuthbert's, and 
containing about 3000 souls, was entrusted to the 
care of the Deaconess House for the training of its 
workers, under the direction of Dr. Charteris. It 
was a splendid field for the development of practical 



102 ALICE MAXWELL 

Mission work. In old days, St. Cuthbert's had been 
the Church of the country district round Edinburgh, 
but as the town grew and new parishes were formed 
to meet the fresh needs of the inhabitants, the more 
distant part became divided from the old Parish 
Church and parochial work was much hampered. 
It was therefore a gain on both sides for this portion 
of the parish to be given over to the care of the 
Deaconess House workers and the " Brown Ladies," 
as the Deaconesses were sometimes called, and their 
helpers were soon well known on the stairs and in the 
homes of its people. Brown had been chosen for the 
colour of the Church of Scotland Deaconess dress ; 
and, with the simple brown bonnet and brown cloak 
or cape for outdoor wear, has been found a most 
practical and useful garb. It has proved a protec- 
tion when working in rough and degraded places, 
for the dress has been recognised even when the 
faces were unknown, and the rude word or coarse 
jest has been checked as the speaker recognised the 
dress of those who were toiling with self-sacrificing 
love among them. In the House the white muslin 
cap, with its brown ribbon, and a muslin apron com- 
pleted the uniform. There was nothing remarkable 
about the uniform, as the leaders of the Church of 
Scotland Deaconess movement wished to avoid 
anything exaggerated or peculiar ; but it was neat 
and serviceable, distinguishing those who wore it 
from others, but not so much as to prevent them 
mixing comfortably and pleasantly among their 
fellows. 1 

The residents wore black dresses and black 
1 See Appendix C. 



MISSIONARY TRAINING 108 

bonnets of the same shape as the Deaconesses. 
Great care was taken in the selection of districts 
for the younger and less experienced workers, and 
the few moments of earnest prayer spent together 
in Miss Maxwell's room before they started on their 
afternoon visiting was a great help and strength to 
those engaged in it. 

By December 1890 over a hundred Branches of 
the Woman's Guild had been started in different 
parishes of the Church, and the work had grown in 
so many ways that the time seemed ripe for adding 
a Woman's Guild Supplement to the Life and Work 
Magazine, as well as the Young Men's Guild Supple- 
ment which had been begun some time before. 
Mrs. Charteris kindly consented to be Editor, and 
most interesting accounts of the work carried on at 
the Deaconess House and District and throughout 
the country were given in it. 

In the first number Miss Maxwell describes the 
Stair or Kitchen Prayer Meetings, which the 
residents training in the Deaconess House con- 
ducted in their own special district : 

" For some years we have visited and held meet- 
ings of different kinds — Evangelistic Meetings, 
Mothers' Meetings, etc. — in the district of the 
Pleasance and the surrounding streets under the 
charge of our Deaconess Institution. These meet- 
ings are all carried on in our Mission room, but 
some months ago in conjunction with our other 
Mission work we began another kind of meeting 
carried on in another place — in the homes of our 
people — I mean what are called ' Stair or Kitchen 
Prayer Meetings.' Before we started these meetings 



104 ALICE MAXWELL 

we were told by others how helpful they were, but 
the full extent of their helpfulness was hardly 
grasped till we saw how they were appreciated by 
the people themselves and how well it worked in 
every way both as regards visitor and visited. Our 
Mission-room meetings fulfil their own purposes, 
which are indeed of the highest, taking people 
right out of surroundings which are often evil and 
bringing them together to a place set apart for 
God's service. But we want more than that : we 
want to bring the influence of religion into the 
daily life of our people so that they may be lifted 
up. We would have them realise the fact that 
God's presence is in those rooms where they eat 
and drink, where they sleep and wake, where they 
are sad and glad ; also where there is sin and evil, 
that the restraining power of that just Presence 
may hold them back, while a Father's love may 
move them to lead better lives. We ourselves, 
knowing the blessedness of living a daily life with 
God, may well, ' God helping ' us, seek to bring 
that joy into the life of others, by kneeling side by 
side with them in their own homes where the 
circumstances and needs of each are most present 
to them. Having knelt together as fellow-sinners 
before the Saviour, we can go back to those homes 
and speak differently, for if we would be forgiven 
as fellow-sinners we should also seek to live as 
fellow-servants of God. Another reason why these 
little meetings are the means of special help in our 
Mission work is that the small number gives an 
opportunity of being very definite both in prayer 
and in speaking without being altogether personal. 



DISTRICT WORK 105 

Personal or individual dealing can, I think, only be 
fitting after we have learnt to know each other, and, 
as a rule, when quite alone with the one we would 
try to help in overcoming sin or difficulty of any 
kind. 

" We visitors find that the stair meeting creates 
a very close bond between us as friends, which leads 
to a greater degree of confidence. It is just the 
feeling conveyed so perfectly in the expression : 
they do ' lippen ' to us so much more since we have 
met together in this way. 

" We found no difficulty in beginning, for any 
who could and were asked to do so were ready and 
kind in giving the use of their kitchens, and still 
further helpful in arranging chairs, etc., also in 
borrowing from neighbours when extra seats were 
required. The first thing to be done was to look 
out for suitable people and rooms — for both had to 
be considered — i.e. people who were willing to give 
a kindly welcome to all who came and who had a 
plain, simple room that none would hesitate to 
enter from a feeling of shyness. 

" More than one was wanted, for we were anxious 
to have those meetings all over our district. About 
a dozen such kitchens have been placed at our 
disposal for this purpose, and we are always adding 
to their number. So far the afternoon has been 
found most suitable, but the evening may perhaps 
be more so if the men wish to join with us. We 
change our place of meeting as much as possible, 
and great care is taken to consult the convenience 
of the person in whose house we are to meet some 
days previously, so that it may be arranged for 



106 ALICE MAXWELL 

elsewhere if necessary. If we are told of any 
difficulty as to receiving us on a certain day, the 
request to come back another day is generally 
added, so we feel a welcome will still be waiting 
for us. 

" Our average number is fifteen or sixteen as the 
space is very limited in these small rooms, and the 
one hour spent in singing and prayer and a short 
address passes away very quickly, several of us 
taking part in the little homely service. As we 
come out a quiet word spoken by one of our friends 
has shown more than once that God's message 
has gone home to some heart, and we hopefully 
pray that the influence of His presence which has 
been felt among us while together may remain there 
working in those hearts and homes, and that His 
light may come in and beautify those daily lives 
which are so often only too full of the darkness of 
sin." 

Another interesting account is given by a friend 
who was present at the Men's Sunday Bible Reading 
conducted by Dr. Charteris : 

" I repaired next day at half -past two under the 
guidance of some of the workers to this rather 
unique service. It lasts exactly one hour, and is 
for the study of the Bible. A subject is selected 
and announced to the meeting the previous Sunday, 
and every one is expected to take part in the informal 
consideration of it, which is the object of the meet- 
ing. Some contribute by reading texts which bear 
upon the subject ; some by passages from other 
books which they have read, or sermons which they 
have heard ; and some by mentioning facts in their 



DISTRICT WORK 107 

own experience ; while the Chairman, assisted by 
the student-missionaries, explains the meaning of 
the various texts, and sums up and puts in a right 
light the information which has been gained. 

" This Bible reading is a new agency only lately 
set on foot by Dr. Charteris, in the hope — which is 
being realised to a gratifying degree — that working 
men may be won to the study of their Bibles and to 
thought about the things of God, by the uncon- 
ventionally of a learners' meeting in which they 
themselves either by question or by contribution 
are at liberty to take an active part. 

" On Sunday the 9th August the subject was, 
' What is the World, and in what way are Christians 
bound to resist it ? ' The subject, Professor Charteris 
began by saying, had been selected the week before 
when he was absent from home. It was one so 
full of difficulty that he did not think he would have 
selected it, and yet he believed it might be discussed 
so as to lead to our great profit. The first thing to 
settle was what was the world ? On this subject 
the Professor passing from bench to bench in 
regular order, calling on those present to say what 
light they had found through their home study, 
elicited a great number of texts, some irrelevant 
but the immense majority bearing strictly on the 
subject. The general feeling of the meeting seemed 
at first to be that ' the world ' was all secular 
occupations and all unconverted men and women ; 
and that Christians were called on as far as possible 
to fight against and keep themselves separate from 
them. 

" But the Chairman gently showed that ' the 



108 ALICE MAXWELL 

world ' as mentioned in the Bible is a term rarely 
used in an evil sense. In the great majority of 
texts it means simply ' this present state of things ' ; 
in a great majority it means ' all men and women ' ; 
and only in a comparatively small number has it 
the evil sense of designating those who obey not 
and love not God. ' How,' he asked, ' in the many 
texts in which the world means simply " all men 
and women," can we think we are called on to hate 
and be separate from them, when we read that 
" God so loved the world that He gave His only 
begotten Son " ? ' So he led the little company to 
see for themselves, and from texts to prove for 
themselves, that while we must hate and separate 
ourselves from sin, we are to love and help, not hate 
the sinner ; and that what we are to fight and hate 
is that particular evil within ourselves which separ- 
ates us from God. He graphically showed — or 
rather led the people to see for themselves — that 
this * world,' this evil thing which is in us, is not the 
same to everybody. ' One sin,' he said, ' may be 
to me "the world" which hides God and heaven 
from me ; it may be quite another sin which is 
your barrier. Just as if both of us from different 
points are trying to see an object ; one object may 
hide it from me, quite another may come in the 
way of your vision. So it is the sin in us which 
separates us from God that in each case is our 
" world." " This is the victory that overcometh 
the world, even our faith." ' So, then, we see we 
are not to hate our brethren whom we count as 
sinners ; nor are we to hold ourselves ever aloof 
from any, as if we were better than they. We are 



DISTRICT WORK 109 

to hate and keep separate from the sin in them ; 
still more are we to hate the sin in ourselves ; but 
we are to love and help the sinner even as Christ, 
our Master, does. ' The world ' is to learn to know 
and believe that Christ is sent by God ; we are to 
aim at the conversion of the men and women who 
are the world (St. John xvii. 21-23). 

" An interesting conversation followed, when 
many working-men came forward and said what 
was ' the world,' the stumbling-block which caused 
sin to them in their daily life. It was sad to hear 
the revelations, new to many of us, of the great 
dangers and temptations (especially from the free 
drinking) which strew the path of men engaged in 
breweries and distilleries. The earnest, though 
humble, avowal made by one or two that they had 
been enabled to break loose from this trade which 
had been ' the world ' of temptation to them, 
would, we are sure, be a help to others still strug- 
gling amid temptation. And the prayer at the 
end, that God would give us each grace to break 
with whatever in our daily life was to us ' the 
world,' which, because we love it, is keeping us 
away from Him, must have found an echo in many 
hearts." 

Christmas and the New Year were busy times 
for those who remained at the Deaconess House. 
It was a season of special temptation to many of the 
people in the district. Evil influences and bad com- 
panions were always waiting to drag down those 
who were only beginning perhaps to think of better 
things, and the fight against temptation was often 
hard and bitter : sometimes they failed, but often 



110 ALICE MAXWELL 

they laid hold on God's mighty strength, and came 
out more than conquerors through Him who loved 
them. Different opinions may always be held on 
such subjects, but Miss Maxwell felt very strongly 
that the presence of those who had cared for them 
and visited them should be a help and stay to 
struggling souls in such hours of sore temptation. 
Often she found that workers themselves, who had 
never realised in any true sense the awful strength 
of evil, gained their first real knowledge of its 
power as they stood beside their people and prayed 
with and for them in those days of trial. Life 
became a deeper and more earnest reality to them 
after such an experience. 

Miss Maxwell was never absent from the Deacon- 
ess House herself at that season during the twenty- 
three years that she acted as Superintendent, except 
for the winter of 1897-98, when, on account of her 
health, a six months' furlough, which she spent at 
the Canary Islands, had been given to her, and on 
one other occasion. Her home affections were very 
strong. The pure joys and beautiful things of 
God's world became more beautiful, and the tender, 
sweet relationships of earthly life grew deeper 
because she received them " with gladness of 
heart " from the loving hands of her heavenly 
Father and praised Him for them. But she never 
allowed them to interfere with the call of duty or 
the work to which she had given the whole-hearted 
devotion of her life. 

Sometimes her friends urged her to go about 
more. Personally, and in so far as it might have 
been an advantage to the work, she would have 



DISTRICT WORK 111 

enjoyed social functions, but her strength was 
limited, and in many instances it would have been 
a choice between outside engagements and faithful- 
ness to her own special calling. In such cases 
there could be no question in her mind, and her 
work always took the first place. In the old home 
at Cardoness, where a loving welcome was always 
ready for her, she was often missed, but the only 
Christmas and New Year spent there after she 
began her work in Edinburgh was in 1907, when 
urgent family reasons made her break through her 
usual rule. 

Thursday was a weekly holiday at the Deaconess 
House. Sunday was a day of worship and of holy, 
happy labour, with the glorious remembrance of the 
resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, and all the 
love and power it has brought to light, gilding all 
its hours ; but it could not be called a day of physical 
rest to the workers in the Pleasance. For Mission 
work carried out in the spirit of the Master even in 
its peace and joy must often prove trying and 
exhausting ; and it was felt that one free day was 
necessary, and would only make the work of the 
other days better and truer. 

Thursday was the day chosen. Saturday at 
that time did not prove a convenient day, as it 
would have interfered with the Temperance meeting 
held in the evening, and Miss Maxwell found that 
Saturday afternoon visits to the homes of their 
people often increased the helpful influence of the 
visitor, who then learnt to know the fathers as 
well as the mothers of the home. 

A Christmas service and entertainment, a watch- 



112 ALICE MAXWELL 

night service, and gatherings every night during 
the New Year week were always arranged for the 
people in the Pleasance, and no time or trouble was 
spared to make them helpful and induce the people 
to attend them. An interesting account of the 
Christmas meetings in 1890 is given by a resident 
then at the Deaconess House : 

" Secret Prayer, such was the title of a little book 
we found on our plate at breakfast on Christmas 
morning. We turned the leaves over and thanked 
the kind donor in true Christmas fashion, but did 
not take time to fully realise the value and meaning 
of the words till later in the day. 

" Shortly before noon we wended our way to our 
little Mission room, and were delighted to find so 
many well-known faces waiting to greet us. Very 
pleasant it was to find the room tastefully decorated, 
the bright holly berries and beaming white letters 
of a huge ' Welcome ' and ' A Merry Christmas ' 
showing off the dark evergreens to full advantage. 
All friends were heartily welcomed and the decora- 
tions much admired ; but our watches told us it 
was time to begin our little service, and how touch- 
ing it was none can fully understand but those who 
have been absent for many years from their native 
land. We have heard ' the music swell and the 
praise go forth ' that ' to us a Child is born,' in many 
an ancient cathedral beneath many a stately dome ; 
but never did we so truly comprehend the beauty 
of the Message to those Eastern Shepherds on that 
glad morning so long ago as we did on this Christ- 
mas Day. And now the preacher tells the old, old 
story, always the same, yet always with a new 



DISTRICT WORK 113 

meaning. Sweet peace and goodwill seemed to 
reign on all, not only in the Mission room but even 
the usually noisy street was quiet, just as if it had 
been arranged. The one shadow was the absence 
of several friends, some by sickness, some by other 
duties, and alas ! some by — shall we say neglect ? 
Then the benediction was pronounced, and we 
parted with bright hopes for the meeting in the 
evening and a kindly invitation to our Pleasance 
Mothers to bring their husbands and their sons 
with them to it. 

"But we had no idea what a treat was in store 
for us at this evening meeting. First of all a hearty 
Scotch tea was provided for our district friends, 
and, as we handed about the good things and 
listened to the homely exclamations of delight in 
the dear native tongue, we felt that our sixteen 
years of exile had not been passed in vain, if only 
to be able to thoroughly enjoy the delightful 
sensation of serving our own people. After tea 
Miss Maxwell gave a most beautiful and instructive 
lecture called ' Candle Parables.' It was illustrated 
by a large number of candles on the table before 
her of every kind and size, from the finest wax 
bougie to the commonest tallow dip, and of every 
variety of candlestick. We trust none present may 
forget the first great lesson of the many, taught us — 
that the candle of our human life can never shine 
whatever its circumstances or powers unless it is 
first lighted by Him who is the light of men. Then 
the parting hymn reminded us that Christmas for 
us in the Pleasance had come to an end. It was 
almost with a feeling akin to pain we said good- 

I 



114 ALICE MAXWELL 

night to many we had learnt to love, to many who 
had taken a deep place in our hearts during these 
last months of 1890. But as we walked homewards 
and looking up at the blue canopy overhead thought 
of friends far away and of God's everlasting love, 
the sad, sad realities of life were brought before us, 
for there, lying on the pathway, was the figure of a 
man. There was no need to ask how he came there, 
and our friend left us on her errand of love and 
mercy to try and find help for him. 

" Sitting alone by the fire and musing over the 
events of the day, we wonder why some of the 
friends in the Pleasance whom we had greatly 
hoped for had not taken part in our service. 
Unconsciously we pick up our little Christmas gift 
and a still, small voice whispers to us, ' Have 
you prayed long, earnestly, and secretly for those 
who disappointed you to-day ? ' Very forcibly 
the words of an able minister of our Church, 
spoken some time ago, are brought home to us : 
' Effort without prayer is fanaticism, prayer with- 
out effort presumption, prayer and effort apart 
are sin, but the heart that worketh by prayer is 
carried through all, for united they are the power 
of God.' " 

On New Year's Eve a watch-night service was 
held in the Mission Hall. A short address and 
prayer, then silent prayer as the old year passed 
away and the New Year began, a hymn and the 
benediction, and the brief, solemn service closed. 
A friend outside the Deaconess House, who loved 
when possible to attend these meetings, speaks 
still of their helpfulness, and of the restful 



DISTRICT WORK 115 

and beautiful atmosphere of peace and joy that 
seemed to pervade Miss Maxwell's life. 

During the New Year week, meetings were 
held every night, lasting from seven in the 
evening till ten o'clock, by which time the public- 
houses were closed. It was a great help to many 
tempted ones to gather together in a safe place, 
where the warm interest and kindly cheerfulness 
shown, made them feel at home, and kept them 
apart from the evil influences outside. 

Many friends helped in these entertainments. 
The pupils of the Blind Asylum always gave one 
concert, and boys from the Orphanage at Liberton 
often played the bagpipes, much to the delight 
of the audience, but sometimes with rather crush- 
ing effect to the ears of those who were sitting 
close beside them on the platform. After the 
meetings were over and the ordinary work of the 
House going on again as usual, Miss Maxwell 
generally took a short holiday herself. 

Temperance work in the Pleasance was sorely 
needed, and the call met in many ways by Temper- 
ance meetings, Bands of Hope, constant visiting, 
and earnest and personal dealing with individual 
souls. 

The following account of the Saturday evening 
Temperance meeting is given by a visitor to the 
Pleasance in 1891 : 

" I was present at the Temperance meeting 
which every Saturday evening is held in the 
Pleasance, and seldom have I seen a service which 
interested me more. I wish I could convey an 
idea of the scene. The place of meeting — a 



116 ALICE MAXWELL 

little humble room too small and too low in the 
roof for the crowd which overfilled it (for the 
new Mission Hall, which will be such a boon to 
the Pleasance, is not yet ready for occupation) ; 
the entertainments — if so they might be called — 
of the very simplest description ; no lively songs, 
no jokes, or recitations, nothing that could have 
been expected to draw so large a number of people ; 
the audience — for the most part dejected, weary, 
and poorly-clad men and women ; many both 
old and young bearing traces of the cruel enemy 
who had brought them very low ; yet all, without 
exception, earnest and attentive listeners, — all evi- 
dently brought together with no hope of amuse- 
ment, but because in that place they trusted 
they might hear something which would do them 
good. ' What,' I asked myself, ' could be the 
power which led so world-weary a throng to this 
quiet meeting ? ' It was nothing new ; they 
come with no outward attraction, Saturday after 
Saturday, through the winter's rain and snow as 
well as on these warm sunny days, and the power 
that brings them is just the power of tried and 
trusted friendship, the certainty that the friends 
whom they meet there really love them for 
Christ's sake, and desire nothing so much as 
their true and highest good. The friendly nods 
and hand-shakings as each came in ; the long 
table in front of the platform covered with sweet 
flowers (kind gifts from many country gardens), 
ready made up into bouquets for distribution 
at the end ; indeed everything about the meeting 
showed it was a gathering of friends. 



DISTRICT WORK 117 

" There was heartfelt and, in many cases, 
tearful singing of pathetic and appropriate hymns ; 
there was a story read of how the coming of a 
baby boy weaned the father from intemperate 
ways. Then the chapter from St. John's Gospel 
about the Pool of Bethesda was read, and with 
breathless attention the audience listened while 
the speaker, whose youthful strength was an 
attraction to his worn and enfeebled hearers, 
after showing the resemblance between our gather- 
ing and that of Bethesda, all maimed in the battle 
with sin, halt and sorely withered from their 
early promise, ended by pointing out one blessed 
difference between our state and theirs. These 
Jews said, ' Lord, we have no man to put us 
into the water ' ; but we have the Man, the 
blessed Sin-bearer — even Jesus Christ. Pointing 
all his hearers to Him, the young preacher sat 
down. Then the hymn was sung, ' Only trust 
Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now,' 
and the faces of many looked as if God were 
granting the prayer of their friends and helpers, 
and leading them to that blessed trust. 

" Dr. Charteris had come in during the singing, 
and in a few earnest words asked them to remember 
as they looked on the flowers which Christian love 
had sent them, that each little flower had come 
to be what it was through the influence of God's 
sun and air and rain ; and that if we but yielded 
ourselves as did the flowers, the blessed influences 
of His grace could make us fair and pure and sweet 
as they. 

" Then there remained but the solemn giving 



118 ALICE MAXWELL 

of the Temperance Pledge to those who, in many 
cases, very humbly and self-distrustingly, came 
to ask for it ; and with an earnest prayer that 
each one might be kept by the almighty power 
of God, the meeting ended. But the workers, as 
was their custom, stayed yet a short time to 
pray together that those who had newly pledged 
themselves might have grace to stand, and then 
they too went their several ways. May their 
prayers be heard and their toil abundantly re- 
warded ! In one case of which we know — a case 
which is demanding a struggle of whose violence 
most of us can hardly judge — we believe the 
victory will be given. 

" May God grant that not in this case only 
but in many it may be to the glory of His grace." 

That prayer was abundantly answered and many 
drawn from the dark slippery paths of evil. One 
young girl, only fifteen years of age, appeared to 
most people fallen and degraded beyond hope. 
She seemed to have supernatural strength, and 
would struggle through the Pleasance and stand 
with her arms akimbo ready to fight man, woman, 
or child that offended her. But even in her the 
image of God had been covered and defiled but 
not wholly lost, and at last the loving hands and 
pitying hearts of His children were enabled to 
find the one tender spot and pluck her as a brand 
from the fire. Later on, assistance was given 
to her to go out to Canada, where she obtained 
a good situation and has done well ever since. 
It was difficult to believe that the photograph 
sent home of a young earnest-looking girl, in 



DISTRICT WORK 119 

her neat dress and white cap, was the same girl, 
who without the saving grace of God might still 
have been the terror of the Pleasance. 

Another woman still thinks of the love and 
patience which seemed as if it would not let her 
go. She had been in a better position, but drink 
had enslaved her and she had fallen very low. 
But she hated while she loved her sin and longed 
to be freed from its power. Miss Maxwell found 
her in the Pleasance, and with patient, tender 
love, which refused to be baffled, strove to lift her 
up again. It was a hard struggle. Sin had bound 
her with iron chains and bad companions were 
all round her. The great hope seemed to be to 
remove her from their influence. At that time 
the Deaconess Institution had been moved from 
42 to 27 George Square. The large back-green 
had been turned into a pleasant garden, where 
the yellow auricula, white pinks, ferns and green 
grass were a joy to many of the household. 
A small house at the end of the garden, originally 
a laundry, had been cleaned and painted, and was 
occasionally used as a quiet sitting-room. Miss 
Maxwell had a bed put in the upper room, and the 
poor tempted woman was persuaded to come and 
stay there for some time. She still remembers the 
comfort and cleanliness of that little room, the 
" beautiful hands " that brought her warm milk, 
the tactful wisdom that chose just the right books 
to lend her, the loving heart that thought of every 
means to win her, the strong gentleness that never 
scolded, never made light of the sin that crucified 
her Lord, but always seemed to have a word of help 



120 ALICE MAXWELL 

and encouragement ready for her. Yet another 
woman, the wife of a respectable workman and 
mother of a large family, fell under the power of 
drink, to the bitter shame and grief of all her 
family ; but she too was helped, and is now lead- 
ing an upright life, a power of good and not of 
evil to those she loves. 



MISSION PREMISES AND DEACONESS 
HOSPITAL 



121 



Be brave, ray brother ! 

Fight the good fight of faith 

With weapons proved and true ; 

Be faithful and unshrinking to the death ; 

Thy God will bear thee through ; 

The strife is terrible, 

Yet 'tis not, 'tis not long ; 

The foe is not invincible, 

Though fierce and strong. 

Be brave, my brother ! 
Stint not the liberal hand, 
Give, in the joy of love ; 
So shall thy crown be bright, and great, 
Thy recompense above ; 
Reward, — not like the deed, 
That poor weak deed of thine ; 
But like the God Himself who gives, 
Eternal and Divine. 



The victory is ours ! 

For us in might came forth the Mighty One ; 
For us He fought the fight, the triumph won, 
The victory is ours ! 

HORATIUS BONAR. 



122 



CHAPTER VII 

MISSION PREMISES AND DEACONESS HOSPITAL 

The Deaconess House was closed for about six 
weeks in summer, leaving a Deaconess or one of 
the more experienced residents, who then took her 
holiday later on, in charge of the district. The 
classes and meetings were given up, but she was able 
to visit any needy case and keep in touch with the 
people till the regular work began again in autumn. 
Miss Maxwell spent her summer holiday in 1891 
with her sister, Mrs. Macrae, at Ems. After the 
busy life in town the quiet, restful days spent 
together at Ems, where they took rooms in the 
comfortable Vier Thurme Hotel, were a great 
pleasure to the two sisters. Baths, reading, sitting 
in the gardens, and a few expeditions to the top of 
the Malhburg in the little caterpillar-like train 
that clawed its way straight up to the top of the 
hill, took up most of their time. In the end of 
July they were joined by Mr. Macrae, and went 
on together to Schwalbach. The bracing air and 
waters of Schwalbach suited Miss Maxwell and 
often did her good, but it was disappointing how 
quickly the little extra fillip seemed used up when 

123 



124 ALICE MAXWELL 

she began work again. Comfortable quarters were 
found at the Villa Scheurmann, where Miss G. 
Tufnell, now Lady Mount Stephen, and Madame 
Brecka had also taken rooms. Madame Brecka 
was secretary to the kind, large-hearted Duchess of 
Teck. She was a most devoted admirer of her 
royal mistress and of the " Princess May," now our 
Queen Mary, whom she had known for many 
years before her marriage to King George. To the 
loyal hearts of her hearers it was delightful to 
listen to her stories of the kindly deeds done by the 
Royal Household, and they joined very heartily in 
her indignation over those whose envy and malice 
made them misrepresent words and acts, and 
sometimes impute motives, which from her oppor- 
tunities of personal knowledge she knew were false. 
She told them how carefully the young Princess 
had been trained to take a thoughtful interest in 
those around her and share in her mother's philan- 
thropic work. Even in those early days unselfish 
devotion to the highest needs of the people, which 
has endeared her and King George so much to the 
hearts of their subjects through these trying years 
of war, was moulding her life and deepening her 
character. Little Prince Eddie, now Prince of 
Wales, but scarcely two years old at that time, 
was a great favourite. 

By September, Miss Maxwell was back again at 
George Square ready to begin the winter's work. 
The Mission work of the district had been much 
hampered by the want of suitable premises. Two 
or three rooms had been taken at different times, 
and all that could be done for them by paint and 



MISSION PREMISES 125 

paper was done ; but it was impossible to prevent 
the close atmosphere of the low -roofed rooms 
when the people crowded into them, and the 
results, especially at lantern lectures, were often 
lamentable. One lecture came to an abrupt 
conclusion as the lantern, with admirable common 
sense, refused to work in such a vitiated atmo- 
sphere. Such conditions could not be allowed to 
continue. Miss Maxwell recognised what a boon 
proper Mission premises would be both to the 
district and to the workers. She used her influence 
and gave generously to help on the project ; and 
it was with great joy she saw the site purchased 
and the present Mission Buildings raised free of 
debt in the autumn of 1891. The sum of £3000 
had been subscribed, and the large and convenient 
building, planted as a beacon light amid the 
dark stairs and close alleys of the Pleasance, 
became a centre of Christlike work and helpful- 
ness. Now the Deaconess Hospital and Charteris 
Memorial Church surround it on three sides, but 
then the dark grimy dwellings of the district came 
close up to it and made the contrast all the stronger. 
A large cheerful Hall, open to the rafters, and clean 
pink walls never allowed to grow dirty for want 
of paint ; a platform and table, with a bright piece 
of carpet, and red tablecloth, and comfortable 
benches all down the Hall, took up a large part of 
the ground floor. But space was also found for a 
kitchen opening out of the Hall, rooms for a care- 
taker, and two or three smaller rooms which proved 
most useful for holding separate classes. On the 
upper floor there were rooms of different sizes, 



126 ALICE MAXWELL 

suitable for Mothers' Meetings, Bible Classes, the 
Sunday Home, and other gatherings. " Christo 
in Pauperibus," " To Christ in His Poor," words 
Dr. Charteris had read over the door of a Swiss 
hospital, were remembered and written over the 
new Mission buildings of the Pleasance. 

The Annual Conference of the Young Men's 
Guild had been held for several years in different 
places in Scotland. They had proved a most 
helpful influence and a great bond of union and 
strength between its members. In 1891 the first 
Woman's Guild Conference was held in Edinburgh 
on November 17 and 18. Careful preparations 
were made to ensure its success. Delegates were 
appointed by nearly all the Branches of the Guild 
throughout the country, and town members gladly 
opened their houses to receive country members 
coming from a distance. The Delegates were asked 
to arrive early on the 17th, and it was arranged to 
hold the first meeting, a meeting of welcome to 
them, in the new Mission premises in the Pleasance. 

The following graphic account of this meeting 
was written for the Conference number of the 
Woman's Guild Supplement by one who was 
present : 

" The place selected for the meeting of welcome 
to the Delegates, to which they were invited by the 
Committee of Life and Work and the Deaconesses 
of the Church, was the new Pleasance Mission 
House — St. Ninian's Mission House as it is to be 
called — the central premises of the Guild. There 
was a peculiar fitness that the first meeting of the 
first Conference should be held here, and great 



MISSION PREMISES 127 

were the exertions made that it should be ready in 
time. And ready it was — though, indeed, by the 
narrowest of shaves, for the day before, among 
other trifling deficiencies, there was no stove ready 
to boil the water on — rather awkward where tea 
was to be served on the morrow to 200 guests. 
But all these difficulties were triumphantly sur- 
mounted, and by half-past seven on Tuesday the 
17th November, the beautiful spacious Hall — its 
rose-coloured walls flooded with brilliant light, 
each window-sill covered with ivy and evergreen, 
the table and platform bright with roses, chrysan- 
themums, and other flowers which brought summer 
back to us — was all in gay readiness for the ex- 
pected guests. The Committee and Deaconesses were 
already there, and when the Delegates and their 
friends arrived they were received with the 
heartiest of welcomes. Then a short and fervent 
service of prayer and praise was held in the Hall, 
asking a blessing on this first gathering and all 
the work that was to be carried on in Christ's 
name in it ; and the large company dispersed 
itself over the many bright rooms of the Mission 
House to inspect and admire, and enjoy the social 
tea and coffee provided in several of the rooms. 
The house has everything necessary for a thoroughly 
equipped centre of Mission work ; and everything, 
from the beautiful large Mothers' Meeting and the 
Girls' Club room, with its rosy tinted walls and 
glass doors dividing it, to the upstairs floor of 
smaller rooms for carrying on a speciality of the 
Mission, the Sunday Home, was much admired. 
" In every room the mantelpiece was gay with 



128 ALICE MAXWELL 

flowers and bright with a cheerful fire ; in many, 
carpets were laid down and easy chairs and sofas 
provided to do honour to the welcome guests, who 
passed up and down the wide staircase, with its 
large windows of tinted glass, greeting each other 
with happy smiles and cordial salutation. 

" The party consisted of the Delegates them- 
selves, their kind Edinburgh entertainers, the 
Committee, and the Deaconesses who were the 
hosts for the evening. Each Delegate wore a badge 
of blue and white in token of her membership ; 
and this simple decoration proved, as was expected, 
a passport to instant acquaintance, more effective 
than any formal introductions could have been. 
Not one lonely or neglected person was to be seen 
in all the large gathering ; the flow of kindly talk 
seemed everywhere ; and when the bell summoned 
us again, it was a party of friends, who felt they 
knew each other and had sympathy with each 
other, who gathered in the Hall. Much as we had 
looked forward to our Guild Conference, I do not 
think any of us realised till the meeting took place 
how glad we should be to see each other face to 
face." 

The 17th of November was Miss Maxwell's 
birthday. No greater joy could have been granted 
to her than to see Mission premises for the work 
in which she was so intensely interested thus 
happily and successfully opened. 

Lady Grisell Baillie, the first Deaconess of the 
Church of Scotland, presided next day at the first 
business meeting of the Conference. It was her 
first and last public appearance, for only five weeks 



MISSION PREMISES 129 

afterwards she was called home to her Father's 
House above. 

" We enjoyed all the Conference," a young 
missionary from India said afterwards, " but it 
was the holy beauty on the face of the President 
that most of all impressed us." Those who loved 
her feared the exertion might be too much for her, 
but she was so happy, she said, at the Conference, 
so glad to be there, so thankful if God had made 
her of use to the women of the Union of her " own 
dear Church, the Church of her Fathers." One 
who was present and had lovingly watched her on 
that day wrote afterwards : " We wish every Guild 
sister in the land could have heard the opening 
address of our beloved and honoured first Deaconess. 
We grudged that only we, the three or four hundred 
whom the Hall could contain, were privileged to 
see the sweet, pleading earnestness of her beautiful 
face, and hear the ringing musical tones as of a 
silver trumpet in which she said in her own win- 
ning, imploring, most attractive way : ' Dear 
friends, God's message to us is, " Go, work to-day 
in my vineyard." ' Those who heard it will not 
soon forget it, nor will they forget the tone in 
which later on she said, ' Jesus said, " Lovest thou 
Me ? Feed my lambs." Oh, do as He asked us 
— feed His lambs.' I cannot here attempt to 
reproduce the address. I hope it will be printed 
later, but no printing can ever convey an idea of 
the loving, yearning desire which it breathed that 
the work of saving souls for which Christ died 
should be widely, abundantly, everywhere done, 
and done, too, through her own dear Church, 



180 ALICE MAXWELL 

through the Guild of the women of our Church 
and Land. Surely no tenderer appeal was ever 
made than that in which she so humbly and 
earnestly, yet as chief of our Guild in age, position, 
and office, besought her Guild sisters to act upon 
the command — ' Go work to-day.' " 

Miss Maxwell presided at the afternoon con- 
ference and spoke shortly on St. Paul's words, 
" There are diversities of operations, but one 
Spirit." " The meetings would soon be over," 
she said, " and they must separate to their different 
work, but no servant of Christ need feel alone in 
work done for the Master. We had gathered 
together from many places, we had been consider- 
ing many different kinds of work in town and 
country, among the young and the old, the sick 
and the strong, work at home and abroad. But 
it is all one work, having one end, done for one 
Master. And let us remember that not only our 
work is one, but that we ourselves, if His true 
followers, are all one in Christ Jesus." 

The large public meeting in the evening brought 
the first Woman's Guild Conference to a close, 
and every heart in that large audience must 
surely have responded to the Rev. W. Robertson's 
words as he said, "We have heard of the work this 
Guild may do. Prosecute it henceforth in your 
different homes and spheres of influence." 

This first Conference of the Woman's Guild was 
universally felt to have been a true help and 
incentive to those who attended it, and for nearly 
twenty years after it a conference was regularly 
held in different parts of Scotland, and once in 



MISSION PREMISES 181 

London, with Pont Street Church as its centre. 
Under the war conditions of the past years, and 
with food and transport difficulties, it did not seem 
possible to organise meetings of this kind, but 
now that in God's great mercy Peace has been 
restored, we pray that our Guild members may 
meet again with an ever-deepening devotion and 
more steadfast purpose to win their country and 
the world for Christ their Lord. 

As the Young Men's Guild Conference was 
held in autumn, it was found more convenient 
to have the Woman's Guild Conference in spring, 
and the beautiful spots where the members 
gathered among budding trees and spring flowers 
often helped to bring home to them the glorious 
resurrection message. 

Miss Maxwell always attended the Guild Con- 
ferences herself and arranged for as many as 
possible of the residents at the Deaconess House, 
especially those who were going to work abroad, 
to be present. She knew the uplifting spiritual 
power of such meetings herself and the strength 
of realising that all work, even the humblest, 
truly carried on in God's name and in obedience 
to His will, was a link in His great purpose of 
love to a world for which Christ died. Some- 
times she spoke on other subjects, but generally 
her part was to give an account of the Deaconess 
House and the work carried on in the Pleasance. 
At one of the Conferences she spoke of the Mission 
speciality, the " Sunday Home." Dr. Charteris 
felt deeply the advantage it would be to some of 
the children of the degraded homes in the Pleasance 



132 ALICE MAXWELL 

if, even for a few hours, something of the true 
feeling of Home and of God's Sabbath peace and 
joy could be round them. Miss Maxwell, with 
the residents in the Deaconess House and some 
outside friends, undertook to carry out his plans, 
and a truly happy time was spent in the warm 
comfortable rooms of the Mission Hall by the 
children who seldom heard the tones of love or 
tenderness in their own homes. The Sunday 
Home lasted from 2.30 to 5.30, and about fifty 
of the poorest and most neglected children in 
the district came to it. They met in the Hall, 
and after a short bright service interspersed 
with many hymns, separated to their different 
rooms about three o'clock. Then first of all each 
" Mother " gathered her family round her for 
the home Bible lesson, Catechism, and singing. 
At four o'clock books were put away and all sorts 
of toys and occupations, but always of a distinctly 
Sunday character, were brought out, or sometimes 
they sat round the fire together for a cosy talk. 
The " Home " was meant for the younger children, 
but one " Mother " kept her thirteen boys so 
happily employed that it was always difficult 
to persuade them to leave. One boy of sixteen 
over six feet in height, and in the militia, remained 
till he had to be forced to go and leave room for 
younger children. The younger boys and girls 
were kept together, but it was thought wiser for 
the older boys and girls to be in separate rooms. 
At five o'clock they gathered round the table, 
and trays of hot tea and thick slices of bread and 
jam were brought in. Then grace was reverently 



MISSION PREMISES 183 

said, and each child received a mug of tea and a 
slice of bread and jam before leaving at 5.30. 
Miss Maxwell was deeply interested in the 
" Sunday Home " work. She often took the 
little service at the beginning and the general 
superintendence, ready to supply the place of 
any " Mother " who was obliged to be absent, 
or to give a short rest to any teacher who might 
be rinding her ten untutored bairnies rather 
a handful for three consecutive hours. The 
" Mothers " were always glad to see Miss Maxwell. 
She understood children thoroughly, and they 
were always happy with her. One day she came 
into a room where a boy with a hot dirty face, 
which he was wiping with a still dirtier handker- 
chief, was looking much put out as he tried to 
put together the pieces of a Bible zigzag puzzle. 
' This is an awfu' job, Miss Maxwell," he said 
as she came into the room ; but she sat down 
beside him and soon the puzzled little face became 
wreathed in smiles. The " awfu' job " was turned 
to a joy and zigzag puzzles became one of David's 
great delights henceforward. The children were 
devoted to their Sunday Home, and their interest 
in Missions was often awakened by the stories 
told to them of work for God in heathen lands. 
They learnt gentler ways and to reverence sacred 
things. One teacher on her return after an absence 
of some time says she can never forget listening 
to them again as they sang the hymn " There is 
a city bright." Little tots were there of only 
four or five years of age and older children of 
fourteen and fifteen. But they were all standing 



134 ALICE MAXWELL 

singing quietly and most reverently as if they felt 
the sorrow of the words " Closed are its gates to 
sin " ; the deep need of the prayer " Cleanse me 
and save me," and then with such a burst of glad- 
ness the final verse rang out : 

Till in the snow-white dress 
Of Thy redeemed I stand, 

Faultless and stainless, 

Faultless and stainless. 
Safe in that happy land. 

Many of the children of the " Sunday Home " 
are now doing well, some are married and have 
children of their own, some are in service, and 
one, who was sent to Canada, became a Wesleyan 
preacher. In token of his gratitude to those 
who had helped him so greatly, he used to send 
glass bottles full of maple sugar by post, and, mar- 
vellous to say, they generally arrived safely. 
Many others have fought bravely for their country, 
and often wrote gratefully, saying how those 
quiet happy hours had helped them. On the 
stricken fields of France four of the Sunday 
Home boys met each other and wrote a joint 
letter to say how they had been remembering 
and talking together over " the good old days 
at the Sunday Home." 

Sunday was a very busy day for the workers 
at the Deaconess House. Miss Maxwell writes 
of it as to them " hardly a day of rest, rather a 
day of gladsome service, and good indeed it is 
to remember how many of God's servants every- 
where are sharing in this joy of service on His 
own holy day. St. Ninian's Hall is in constant 



MISSION PREMISES 135 

use from day to day, but Sunday is the busiest 
day of all the week. A little time before 10.30 
the children begin coming in by ones, twos, and 
threes for the children's service in the large Hall ; 
there are ten classes taught by the different 
teachers till within about a quarter of an hour 
of the close of the service, when one of the teachers 
takes the given lesson for the day and speaks to 
the children for a few minutes from the platform ; 
then the service closes with singing and prayer. 
Meantime, the little ones of seven years old and 
under have been gathered into a side room where 
they are taught simple hymns, verses, and Bible 
stories, with a good deal of singing at intervals, 
for it is hard to keep such little hands and feet 
quiet without constant change of occupation. 
Our round of St. Ninian's would not be quite com- 
plete if we forgot another small room opposite 
this one, where the ' Young Men's Guild ' meets 
every Sunday morning at the same hour and the 
meeting is carried on by the Students of the Uni- 
versity Association. All this is over by half-past 
eleven, and the next thought in our minds is the 
Family Service at twelve o'clock, when the parents 
and children are invited to come together. The 
ideal of this service, which is a short one, is that 
the older children should remain with their parents 
and so sanctify the family ties of parent and 
child by their worship together. The minister 
always makes the passage which is read in the 
children's service the subject of his address so 
that all the members of the different households 
are occupied with the same subject. 



136 ALICE MAXWELL 

"At one o'clock the place is shut up for a 
short time, but at half-past two is open and busy 
again with the ' Sunday Home ' for specially poor 
and uncared-for children of the district. At half- 
past five they leave, and the little feet have to 
make their way downstairs very quietly, for in 
the smaller Hall a girls' class is beginning, and 
one hears the bright singing going on, one hymn 
after another being chosen quickly by the girls 
themselves. Then the reading and talking, rather 
with them than to them, comes and the hour is 
soon passed. 

" There is a small library, and any one who 
wishes can change one book for another as she 
passes out. 

" Downstairs other things are going on. For- 
merly any who wished to sign the pledge could 
do so on Saturday at the Temperance meeting, but 
this was found not to answer. Sometimes those 
who asked to sign and stood in sore need of help 
were hardly fit for it ; so now at the Temperance 
meeting they are invited to come on Sunday at 
six o'clock, when the minister has an opportunity 
of giving them a few words of quiet advice 
and getting any who come to join with him in 
asking that the pledge card may be the outside 
token of God-given grace to lead them to better 
things. 

" At half-past six there is the Evening Service 
in the large Hall, where once again the old, old 
story is put before us all. At the close of that 
service the workers in the Mission remain behind, 
and before separating an earnest prayer goes 



MISSION PREMISES 137 

up to God that His blessing may follow all that 
has been done throughout the day." 

It certainly was a busy day, gladly looked 
forward to in the strength of a Risen Lord. 
Sunday, with its weekly commemoration of the 
glorious resurrection of her Lord, was a very 
sacred day to Miss Maxwell. It had been spent 
with no unhealthy restraint, but as a quiet and 
holy day of God, free from the common occupa- 
tions and ordinary amusements of daily life in 
the old home at Cardoness, and she carried away 
the spirit of those days with her. She grieved 
over the carelessness and thoughtlessness of those 
who by their neglect of this Gift of God were 
depriving themselves and others of a joy and 
peace that might be theirs. Sunday trams were 
never used by her for any purpose, and she felt 
even more strongly on the subject after a con- 
versation repeated to her by one of the residents 
in the Deaconess House. This resident had been 
visiting in her district and came across a man who 
worked on the trams. He seldom had a free 
Sunday, and when asked if he did not miss it he 
replied that he was so used to working on Sunday 
that he would hardly know how to use it even 
were he to have a free day now. 

Are we realising what this means to us as a 
nation ? Is it a false pride, or is it a realisation 
of the wonderful faithfulness of God which some- 
times makes us recognise the place which Scotch- 
men, the people of a beautiful but of a small and 
in many parts a barren land, have been allowed 
to take in the affairs of the world ? A missionary 



138 ALICE MAXWELL 

in Korea, after the country had been seized by 
the Japanese, encouraged his converts by telling 
them what a power for good and what important 
positions the people of Scotland had held in the 
British Empire in spite of the smallness and 
insignificance of their land, and urged his hearers 
to make their influence as truly felt. 

" If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, 
from doing thy pleasure on my holy day ; and call 
the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, 
honourable ; and shalt honour Him, not doing 
thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, 
nor speaking thine own words : then shalt thou 
delight thyself in the Lord ; and I will cause thee 
to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed 
thee with the heritage of Jacob thy Father : for 
the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" (Isaiah 
lviii. 13, 14). Our fathers may have made mis- 
takes, but in their Sabbath keeping there was 
an honest desire to fulfil God's will, and they 
left a heritage of blessing to their children. Are 
we passing on the same heritage of blessing to 
those who will follow after us ? Just before the 
war a lady went out to Canada with her son to 
settle him there. As they were waiting at a way- 
side station two men sat down near them. They 
were talking of Canada and the settlers there ; 
and one man, who seemed to be collecting statistics 
for a book on Canada, said to the other, " You 
have the means of judging, and I want you to give 
me your honest opinion — English, Irish, and Scotch- 
men, Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, and Poles come 
out here — which do you find get on best, which 



MISSION PREMISES 139 

make the best settlers ? " " Scotchmen," was his 
answer. Then he waited a moment and added, 
" When they remember their Sabbaths." There 
is no need to point the moral. Our God has 
been faithful to His promise. Are our actions as 
a nation, as an Empire, making it possible for 
Him to prolong His blessing still ? 

One great desire still filled the heart of the 
Life and Work Committee of the Church. The 
Deaconess House had been purchased, the Mission 
premises built in the Pleasance, and all that was 
needed for carrying on Evangelical work in the 
district was complete. But the Master had sent 
forth His disciples not only to preach the Gospel 
but to heal the sick, and many felt that some 
knowledge of nursing would be a great assistance 
to all Mission workers in this country, and that a 
thorough training was absolutely necessary for all 
missionary nurses abroad. Many plans were dis- 
cussed. A small Deaconess House was opened at 
5 Berkeley Terrace in Glasgow, in 1890, under the 
superintendence of Miss K. Davidson and Miss 
Mary Lamond ; and through the kindness of the 
Directors of the Royal Infirmary the residents 
were allowed to attend the lectures and take a 
course of nursing in its wards. In the severe 
winter of 1891 one of the rules was most consider- 
ately relaxed, and as the ladies had to walk from 
and to Berkeley Terrace, they were not asked to 
be at their posts till nine o'clock. Miss Pringle, 
Matron of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, was 
also most kind and sympathetic and did all that 
was practicable to make it possible for the George 



140 ALICE MAXWELL 

Square residents to attend the lectures and go 
through a course of nursing there. 

But it was soon found that nursing and mission 
work together were too great a strain on their 
physical strength, and a scheme was started to 
raise funds to build a small Hospital, belonging to 
the Church of Scotland, where the doctoring and 
nursing should be of the best and the influence of 
the highest. Many feared for the success of the 
undertaking when they remembered the large sums 
that had already been given for the purchase of 
the Deaconess House and the building of the 
Pleasance Mission Hall. But Dr. Charteris and 
Miss Maxwell saw the need and advantages plainly, 
and both had too great a trust in the power and 
loyalty of the members of the Church to doubt 
their response. That trust was nobly met. A 
Hospital Fund was opened to which they both 
contributed largely ; a site adjoining the Mission 
buildings was procured, and by the spring of 1894 
the first stones of the Hospital were laid. 

More important than all else perhaps, a lady of 
tried experience and earnest Christian devotion was 
found in Miss Ella Pirrie, who for twenty-one years 
worked unsparingly for the good of the Hospital, 
its nurses, and its patients. Very thankfully Mrs. 
Charteris writes of Miss Pirrie's appointment : 
" There had been no advertising, no candidates, no 
selection. It was heard that a lady of unusual 
qualifications and experience who had passed a 
full course of training in the great Liverpool Hos- 
pital, and had afterwards been placed by Mr. 
Bickersteth over his wards in that Hospital, was 




MISS ELLA riRRIE, D.C.S., 
First Matron of the Deaconess Hospital. 



To face page 140. 



MISSION PREMISES 141 

willing because of her wish to aid in Deaconess 
work to come to us. And when last month Miss 
Pirrie came to Edinburgh to meet the Committee, 
she was unanimously and gratefully appointed to 
the post of Matron. We ought to have said that 
besides this early training under some of the most 
distinguished physicians and surgeons of Great 
Britain, Miss Pirrie, in her desire thoroughly to 
understand Deaconess nursing, spent some time 
with the Deaconesses in Berlin. They would fain 
have kept her, but she felt the claims of her own 
land and returned to take the head of a huge work- 
house infirmary in Belfast, with from eight hundred 
to one thousand patients. This arduous post she 
held for eight years, and only resigned it, to the 
grief of all concerned, because she felt she could 
no longer bear so heavy a strain. Is it not wonder- 
ful that we should in God's good providence reap 
the benefit of all this varied training which has 
fitted Miss Pirrie in such a remarkable degree for 
the post she has accepted ? We are sure that all 
Guild members, recognising as they do that the 
Deaconess House and its organisations are the 
headquarters and the centre of the Guild, will 
share in the gladness with which all who have 
seen her are prepared to welcome the matron of 
the Lady Grisell Baillie Memorial Hospital." 

It had been decided, with the cordial concur- 
rence of her relations, that the name of the first 
Deaconess, so cherished by all the Diaconate, 
should be perpetuated in their Hospital. Many 
hospitals had been already built by individuals, 
societies, and communities to alleviate human 



142 ALICE MAXWELL 

suffering, but this was the first Hospital erected by 
any Church as part of its necessary equipment for 
the work of Christ. At first it contained only 
room for the matron and her staff, a men's and 
a women's ward with ten beds each, and a small 
room with a single bed, where on the payment of a 
small sum sick workers might come and be lovingly 
nursed back to health and strength. 

But all good things ought to grow. Now the 
number has risen to forty beds, a children's ward 
with sixteen cots and a beautiful Nurses' Home 
built behind the Hospital, where a row of small 
but quiet and comfortable bedrooms end in a 
larger sitting-room looking out upon the summit 
of Arthur's Seat and the rocky face of the Salisbury 
Crags. 

Miss Pirrie arrived in Edinburgh in September 
and at once began her work, by her helpful super- 
vision and advice about the different arrangements 
at the Hospital. She stayed for several weeks at 
the Deaconess House, and a warm friendship, which 
only increased as the years went on, began during 
that time between her and Miss Maxwell. Their 
work was intertwined in many parts, and the love 
and admiration they felt for each other was a great 
gain and pleasure to them both. The Edinburgh 
doctors and surgeons were most generous in the 
help they gave to the Hospital, and names such 
as those of Dr. George Gibson, Dr. George Mackay, 
Mr. Alexis Thomson, Dr. Logan Turner, and many 
others as consultants at once secured confidence 
in the methods and work carried on. Some of the 
most difficult and delicate operations in these days 



MISSION PREMISES 143 

of wonderful surgery have been successfully carried 
out in it, and countless numbers weary both in 
soul and body have found rest and healing within 
its walls. 

By Thursday the 12th of October 1894 the 
Hospital was finished and the opening ceremony 
took place. In the bright autumn sunshine, the 
streets gay with interested visitors from many 
different parts of Scotland, and carriages rattling 
along the causeway, the old Pleasance must have 
felt as if some of its bygone splendours were 
returning. The inhabitants of the district looked 
on with keen interest at what they seemed quite 
to consider the completion of their own hospital. 
Over the door the honoured and cherished name of 
Lady Grisell Baillie was carved ; and just inside 
a beautiful little alms-box, carved as a work of 
love by a friend of the Hospital, with the one 
simple word " Inasmuch " on it, showed the spirit 
of love in which all the work would be undertaken. 
The softly tinted walls of the wards were bright 
with rays of sunshine and flowers seemed every- 
where. Many had come from the old home at 
Cardoness and been arranged by Miss Maxwell 
with that inimitable touch which seemed to bespeak 
the love she bore to God's sweet and beautiful gifts 
to man. 

The ward on the second floor was prepared for 
the reception of the guests. The Rev. Sir James 
Cameron Lees, D.D., presided, and after the hymn 
" Thou to Whom the sick and dying " had been 
sung, dedicated the building and the work to be 
done there to the glory of God, and prayed that 



144 ALICE MAXWELL 

His blessing might rest upon it and upon all 
within it. Then Mr. Miller, Chairman of the Hos- 
pital Board, who has since received the Victorian 
Order from the King in recognition of his services 
and has always taken, and continues to take, such 
a keen and unwearied interest in all that concerns 
the Hospital, told many interesting details about 
the work. Dr. Charteris, who though far from 
strong, had, to the great delight of himself and his 
friends, been allowed by his doctor to put off his 
journey to Meran till after the opening of his 
beloved Hospital, gave a most beautiful and 
encouraging address. Among other things he said 
he had believed till the day before that the Hos- 
pital was to be opened, not only free of debt, but 
with a good surplus. It had come on him like a 
blow that owing to the unlooked-for extras which 
so often ruin the rosiest forecasts it was instead 
£200 in debt. £100 had already been handed in. 
He believed the other hundred would be that day 
so would count it paid and consider the Hospital 
opened free of debt. Lord Polwarth declared the 
Hospital open, and the Right Rev. Dr. Story, 
Moderator that year of the General Assembly, 
formally accepted the building in the name of the 
Church. 

The large upper ward was in readiness for the 
patients who were expected to arrive in four days, 
and looked a picture of rest and comfort with its 
tinted walls of sunny green, polished floors, large 
bright windows, comfortable beds with delightful 
little invalid tables whose legs reached the floor 
and could easily be moved up and down the bed 



MISSION PREMISES 145 

without disturbing the patient, and a Bible and 
hymn-book on each; easy basket chairs in cosy 
corners and flowers everywhere, some even scat- 
tered lightly on the ten pretty white beds. The 
guests wandered all over the building, and some 
climbed up the narrow stair to the little sky garden 
on the leads. Below and around there were roofs 
and chimneys, but towering close at hand Arthur's 
Seat and the grand Salisbury Crags, more beautiful 
than ever in the pink sunset glow, and to the left 
a soft blue haze, where on a clearer day the waters 
of the Firth of Forth and its shores could be seen 
—a place where, even on the sultriest of nights, 
a tired worker might come and be rested and 
refreshed as she looked on the everlasting hills 
and the quiet stars. Tea in the Mission Hall 
finished the function, and there Dr. Charteris met 
the guests with a radiant face and his hands full 
of bank notes. His optimism had not been dis- 
appointed ; not £100 but £130 had been received, 
and the Hospital was opened free of debt and with 
a surplus ! 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 
AND OTHER WORK 



147 



There cometh one saying to Him, Trouble not the 
Master. — St. Luke viii. 49. 



Master, beloved Master, 

Low at Thy feet I fall, 
For I know that Thy word is changeless, 

That Thy love embraces all. 

For country, and Church, and kindred, 
For all that my heart holds dear, 

I know that Thou wouldst be troubled, 
That Thou, my Lord, wilt hear. 

L. M. M. 



Strive for the stars ! 

Count nought well done but best. 
Then, with brave patience, leave the rest 

To Him who knows. 

John Oxenham. 



148 



CHAPTER VIII 

woman's guild conferences and other work 

The meetings and discussions held during the 
sitting of the General Assembly were a great interest 
to Miss Maxwell, and she was seldom absent from 
her seat in the Gallery when the Annual Reports of 
Foreign Missions, the work of the Home Mission 
Committee, the Life and Work Committee, the 
Temperance Committee, and later of the Social 
Scheme of the Church of Scotland, were laid upon 
the table. The earnest soul - stirring addresses 
telling of the work and its further needs interested 
her deeply, and she arranged that the residents 
at the Deaconess House should have as full an 
opportunity of hearing them as was possible with 
the calls their own special work entailed on them. 
She felt that the knowledge of their own Church's 
work and true-hearted loyalty to it should only 
make them more deeply interested in the work of 
God's Kingdom throughout the world. 

An " At Home " was always given at the 
Deaconess House during that time, and the list of 
guests to be invited made up with great care, so 
that as many as possible of those interested or 

149 



150 ALICE MAXWELL 

likely to be interested in the work might be present. 
Miss Maxwell's bright genial welcome made all feel 
at home, and it was a crowded and happy gathering. 
The tea-tables were generally gay with blue hya- 
cinths from the Cardoness woods. Any guests who 
desired it were shown over the house, and a short 
address from Dr. Charteris or Dr. Robertson, giving 
some details of the work, was listened to with much 
interest. 

In 1892 Dr. Charteris, the much loved leader of 
the Deaconess movement, was Moderator of the 
General Assembly, and this gave an additional 
interest in its meetings to the household at 27 
George Square. His address at the closing of the 
Assembly of 1892 and his sermon in St. Giles at the 
opening of the General Assembly of 1893 were kept 
among Miss Maxwell's treasured papers, and their 
wise and earnest words seem still to voice the needs 
of the present day. " Surely now," he writes, 
" when man has none to compel him to believe or 
accept or acquiesce in anything human or divine, 
there is need for every influence that can introduce 
or attract him to that liberty wherewith God sets 
His people free. To lift the soul up from a mere 
material life into a serener existence, in which man 
walks in the light of God — this is the need of our 
day and generation. To show man that in all his 
human freedom there dwells inalienable responsi- 
bility to the God who made him and the Saviour 
who died for him ; to remind him that, while he is 
free in this privileged epoch to stand on his feet and 
walk where he will, he is also bound to lift the fallen 
brother and to guide the weak and forlorn ; that 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 151 

not in strength but in tenderness is man likest 
God ; that higher than our human rights are our 
human duties." 

The Conference of the Woman's Guild held at 
Aberdeen in 1895 was a most helpful one, and Miss 
Maxwell writes of the kindness and hospitality 
shown to the delegates : " The Aberdeen people 
were very kind to their delegates, and had made 
excellent arrangements about everything. The 
Conference was very good and the discussions of 
real, practical use, and many said how much it had 
helped them. It is so nice having Miss Pirrie as a 
Deaconess at the head of our Hospital, and she is 
glad of it herself too." Miss Pirrie had not joined 
the Diaconate when she took up her work at the 
Deaconess Hospital, but she was in full sympathy 
with the movement, and it was a great pleasure to 
all interested, as well as to herself, when she was 
set apart in St. Cuthbert's Church as a Deaconess 
of the Church of Scotland. 

At the Conference Miss Maxwell gave in her 
report of the Deaconess House, and told of mornings 
devoted to study, and afternoons and evenings 
spent in district visiting and in meetings. Her 
earnest words at the first meeting of the Guild 
Conference were on service. " In Exodus xxx. we 
read of a large meeting where emotions were stirred, 
but it did not stop there, for further on we see how 
the rulers brought their onyxes and precious stones, 
the poorer men skins and other things, and the 
women gave what they had, their time, and ' did 
spin with their hands.' Morning by morning this 
continued till there was much more than enough, 



152 ALICE MAXWELL 

and then the words, ' So the people were restrained 
from giving,' close that splendid lesson of doing 
and giving which has been left us by those ' willing- 
hearted men and women.' 

" Many with home ties, sacred because ordained 
of God, are doing their part as they have oppor- 
tunity to strengthen and beautify the Woman's 
Guild. But some of us have not these ties, and 
are free to serve as Deaconesses and Parish Sisters. 
One shrinks from hearing this spoken of as if it 
were one profession or pastime among others, for 
God's work stands alone in its strength and glory. 
An open door is before us, and through it three 
voices are calling us : the voice of those who are 
weary and cast down with poverty, pain, and it 
may be with sin, crying to us to come and lift them 
up ; the voice of the Church we belong to calling 
us to help it to meet this great demand ; and, 
beyond all other voices, the voice of our God telling 
us to go in and take possession. Some have gone 
in, and their experience has been that the Presence 
of God went in with them, the Strength of God 
upheld them, and the Joy of God dwelt with them. 
The Presence, the Strength, and the Joy of God, are 
not these wonderful words ? Perhaps we never 
understand them so completely as when we find 
ourselves face to face with a soul that is seeking 
after God, or still more when face to face with a 
soul that needs its God and does not know it. 
Then the question comes up before us in all its 
force, ' Who is sufficient for these things ? ' Cer- 
tainly not we ourselves, but only Christ, the Re- 
deemer of the World, in us and through us." 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 153 

A short Conference of Deaconesses, lasting only- 
two days, was held annually at the Deaconess House, 
and proved a great bond of union and strength to 
the scattered members of the Diaconate. The first 
meeting took place in October 1894, but afterwards 
it was found more convenient to hold them in the 
beginning of September before the opening of the 
winter session. As many Deaconesses as possible 
were put up at the Deaconess House, and every 
arrangement made for their comfort. The Con- 
ference was greatly looked forward to by all, as it 
was the only time in the year they could meet 
together as a united band, and gave all the feeling 
of belonging to one corporate body which it was 
often difficult to realise in the scattered parishes 
where they worked. They could discuss together 
the difficulties, encouragements, and possible 
developments of their work. Many who came 
wearied and perhaps disappointed with the rough- 
ness of the way went back to their labours with 
new strength and hope. Miss Maxwell enjoyed the 
Conference greatly herself, and planned all the 
household arrangements so that her time might be 
as free and undisturbed as possible. The meals for 
each day were always written out and given to the 
cook beforehand, and everything done to deepen 
the spirit of fellowship and restfulness. Many 
have gratefully told how well she succeeded. Dr. 
Charteris was much interested in these gatherings, 
and his practical, helpful words spoken, or, if 
abroad written, to those attending them were never 
lacking. 

" My motive," he said at one, " in speaking is to 



154 ALICE MAXWELL 

see my friends maintain a high ideal which after 
their time and mine may remain in power. Our 
blessed Lord is your Model. ' The Son of Man came 
not to be ministered unto but to minister.' Dia- 
conate is just the Greek for ministry, and ministry 
means Service. It is an honourable and important 
post, this to which you are called. If you can rise 
above self and realise that you are instruments to 
be used by the Great Minister whose Body is the 
Church, you will be mighty because to you to live 
will be Christ. It is a tremendous thing to be 
chosen by His Church to be His Minister. Is it 
not grand ? It can only be grand if you are humble 
in the sense of responsibility, and always abound 
in the work of the Lord. Remember that this 
work, direct ministry for Christ, is your life, not a 
thing superadded to your ordinary vocation, but 
your vocation. All else is auxiliary, subordinate 
to this life. Many doubt the possibility of such 
entire consecration of a life as that to which you 
are pledged, and it is yours to convince them. 
How much it means ! What dependence on God, 
what prayers, what answers to prayer ! It is 
impossible that any ordinary life can bear such 
trials as assail you. A mere plan or purpose or 
aspiration would wither and die ; any human 
strength would be unable to keep you from accept- 
ing the customs and standards of ordinary social 
life. If your life is hid with Christ in God it will 
blossom and bear fruit abundantly. The Blessed 
One Himself is needed to feed the flame of your 
devotion as in Bunyan's dream. 

" Realise the living Union with the Lord Him- 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 155 

self. ' As thou hast sent me, even so have I also 
sent them into the world.' And how had the Father 
sent the Son ? Surely in the full consciousness that 
He represented Him, with heavenly voices telling 
that He was well pleased with the work that was 
being done. One bitter hour He was forsaken — 
or His human soul thought He was, mystery of 
mysteries, but He has promised that such fate of 
forsakenness shall never be ours. ' Lo, I am with 
you alway.' And it is when we are doing His 
work that He is with us. That is the condition of 
the promise. Why then should we fear ? Who 
can be against us ? 

" No function can be too low. He washed the 
disciples' feet, He took children in His blessed arms. 
I do not believe they were beautiful, tidy, crowing 
babies ; very likely they were untidy, suffering 
from ophthalmia, but He who laid His loving hand 
on a poor leper did not shrink from the children 
whose young hearts were like the angels in His 
loving and idealising eyes. From all fanciful 
fastidiousness, from all social sauciness, from all 
putting the road between you and the wounded in 
life's devil-haunted path, the good Lord deliver 
you." 

From days of such restful fellowship and deep 
and practical teaching we cannot wonder that the 
workers went back to their different fields of 
labour full of renewed hope, and strengthened for 
new effort in their Master's service. To one, the 
head of the Deaconess House herself, no function 
was ever thought too low if it might help to draw 
a fallen child, still dear to the yearning love of the 



156 ALICE MAXWELL 

Heavenly Father's heart, back to Him. She would 
lead a staggering woman back to her home, and 
help her to her bed with no harsh word but with 
sorrowing, Christ-like pity in her heart, hoping to 
save her from further temptation. Next day when 
the stupor of strong drink had worn away leaving 
the listlessness and wretchedness which are the 
Nemesis of such orgies, she would visit her, and, 
while she tried to bring her sin home to her, point 
her to the all-loving Saviour, who alone could 
cleanse her from her stains and give her strength to 
overcome. Both her words and her actions could 
be strong when necessary, for there was none of 
that self-indulgent weakness in her character that 
sometimes spoils good work, but towards the 
erring and sinful, who might be won back by love, 
her patience and tenderness never failed. 

It had once been said by a President of the 
Guild, " Our Guild is not a guild for meetings but 
for service." Loving service should be the outcome 
of all Bible and prayer meetings ; they can only be 
truly helpful if they fan and deepen the spirit and 
power of service, useless if they stop short in them- 
selves, or lull the spirit of service to sleep. 

Agencies of all kinds were set up in the Pleasance 
to see what would suit best and help the people 
most. A country produce stall was for some years 
a great boon to the people. This was suggested 
at a Woman's Guild Conference held in Glasgow 
after Miss Maxwell had given an account of District 
work in the Pleasance, so often carried on among 
dark and dismal surroundings. The country mem- 
bers took up the idea most heartily. A room was 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 157 

secured, and for some years most delightful hampers 
of rhubarb, which was much appreciated, vege- 
tables, fruit, flowers, eggs, and all sorts of country 
produce were sent in on Fridays and sold at a very 
moderate price to the people on Saturdays, or taken 
as a gift to the sick and to some of the aged and 
poorest in the district. After the small expense 
incurred had been met, the surplus, often not at 
all a despicable sum, was sent to some branch 
of the Church's work. One day a hamper with 
black-currants arrived; the children came flying 
from all directions, sent by their mothers to secure 
such an unheard-of luxury in the Pleasance, and a 
good measure was given for a penny. Another day 
a box with six or seven dozen beautiful large eggs, 
of a freshness not known in the district, arrived, 
and were distributed with equal gladness to giver 
and receiver. The flowers were specially valued 
by the sick and aged, and Miss Maxwell often 
pleaded for a constant supply to be sent. Their 
sweetness and beauty were a rest to many tired 
eyes. They awoke memories in some hearts which 
had seemed dead to every other softening influ- 
ence, and even the dust -dimmed dwellings of the 
Pleasance could not diminish their brightness. A 
bunch of clove pinks was handed by a Parish 
Deaconess to a young girl whose past had been 
stained in many ways. All efforts to help her had 
failed before, but at the sight of the flowers her 
face softened. " We had twa borders of them at 
hame," she said. " I can almost see them noo." 
That night a letter was written to the old home 
where for four years no news of the wanderer had 



158 ALICE MAXWELL 

come. An old blind woman was given a bunch of 
flowers chosen for their scent, and though she 
could not see them, the warm grasp of her hand 
showed how deeply they were valued. A Boys' 
Brigade and a Wood Carving Class, where very 
good work was done and many bright and healthful 
hours spent by the boys of the Pleasance, was also 
started under the superintendence of Miss Johnston, 
and a Sewing Class for the girls held once a week. 
The children are met everywhere in the Plea- 
sance, sometimes with bright sunny faces but often 
with wistful eyes and thin, hungry looks. A kind 
friend passing through the district on his way to 
see the Mission Hall, where so much good work 
was done, noticed the little ones with kindly 
interest and resolved to give them a treat. A tea 
was decided on and a substantial sum put into 
Miss Maxwell's hands to carry out the kind donor's 
wishes. It was a very happy party that assembled 
in the Hall one afternoon with their tin mugs and 
bright faces, ready to enjoy thoroughly the generous 
fare that had been provided for them. Only one 
band of children was debarred from it, not through 
the wishes of the kind friend or those who provided 
for them, but through the conscientious objections 
of their race. The little Jewish children in that 
quarter of the town were numerous, but, as it 
would have been against their parents' principles 
for them to eat meat killed by Christians, the 
mutton pies happily enjoyed by the others were 
forbidden luxuries to them. The Jewish Mission 
was always near Miss Maxwell's heart, and she 
longed for the glorious light of Christ's Gospel to 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 159 

pierce the veil of unbelief which hid Him from the 
eyes of His chosen people, but she respected the 
prejudices which had been kept with such self- 
denying insistence through the centuries and 
resolved that the bright, dark -eyed children of 
Abraham should not miss the feast. Different 
food, to which their elders could take no possible 
objection, was provided for them ; and it was 
delightful to watch the clean, tidily dressed, happy 
little party that gathered another afternoon to 
enjoy the treat loving Christian thoughtfulness had 
procured for them. 

Many plans had been set on foot about that 
time for increasing the interest of the members of 
the Church in its Foreign Missions. One sugges- 
tion was that missionary garden parties, where 
stirring addresses on the subject might be given, 
should be arranged during the summer and autumn 
in different parts of the country. Miss Maxwell 
suggested that one should be held at Kilmorak 
Manse near Beauly, where she intended spending 
some weeks with a sister and brother-in-law who 
had taken the Manse for the month of August. 
Dr. Norman Macleod and Dr. Mitford Mitchell 
kindly gave their help, and the meeting was held 
on a bright autumn day in a field sloping gently 
down to the steep banks of the Beauly behind the 
Manse garden. Miss Maxwell helped in all the 
arrangements and was keenly interested in its 
success. Some tourists, who came up from Inver- 
ness that day to visit the beautiful falls of the 
river, saw the gathering, and heard the sound of 
the singing and of the earnest addresses from the 



160 ALICE MAXWELL 

other side of the river but could not distinguish 
the words. Their knowledge of Highland customs 
was not very accurate, and they went back quite 
convinced they had been watching an open-air 
Highland Communion Service. 

But the constant strain and effort entailed by 
the work itself, in which Miss Maxwell took her 
full share, as well as its supervision, began to tell 
seriously on a constitution at no time very robust, 
and though Miss Maxwell was always willing to 
work beyond her strength, a thorough rest in 1897 
became imperative if she were not to break down 
altogether. A year's furlough was given to her, 
and Mrs. Edmonstone, a Deaconess who had stayed 
at the Deaconess House as a visitor some time 
before, agreed to take the superintendence of the 
House and work during her absence. 

Miss Maxwell was advised to spend the winter 
in the Canary Islands, and in November started on 
her travels. The voyage out was fairly good, and 
after her arrival she writes from the Hotel Mar- 
tianez, Orotava : " It was very fortunate I caught 
the Orotava and could come on the next day from 
Las Palmas. I did not go on board till after 
dinner, so had the whole day there to see a little 
of Grand Canary. It is bare and sandy, not 
pretty, and the people are not pleasant looking, 
quite different from here, but they say the old 
Guancha blood is much stronger there than here 
where there is more Spanish, and they have such 
nice gentle faces. I drove into the town in the 
afternoon. There are carriages something like 
victorias with canopies and three little horses 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 161 

abreast. They are such wretched little animals 
that it is no wonder a good many are needed to 
pull one along. After afternoon tea I went up the 
hill behind the hotel and thought it rather pretty 
looking out to sea. When we arrived at Santa 
Cruz, Egger, the manager of this hotel, came on 
board and took us and our luggage in hand, so we 
had no trouble. Landing in little boats was quite 
easy, not like Las Palmas. The drive was long 
and not very interesting, as there are only about 
two different views all the way. First, when you 
start, the view looking up, and when you get to 
the top the view looking down; but I was lucky, 
for Egger had a carriage of his own, just done up 
with three good little horses, and he took me in 
and told me anything that was interesting as we 
came along. Once you arrive at Orotava it is 
quite different. The country is much more broken 
up and you get lots of lovely peeps. The view 
from my room is just lovely. The hotel is built 
in a long low square with a wide verandah on one 
side. My room is the end one upstairs and I walk 
straight out on the top of the verandah which is 
just as good as a sitting-room. It makes such a 
nice sitting-room for reading, etc., in the open air 
and for seeing any friends that I may have. The 
garden is just below me, and beyond some low, 
red-roofed houses, and beyond that again the blue, 
blue sea. To the right there is a view of the 
mountain coming right down to the sea. The 
place is not a bit like an hotel, so clean, cosy, 
quiet, and homelike in all its arrangements. How 
I wish some of you were here to enjoy it with me. 

M 



162 ALICE MAXWELL 

There are four Germans here, but beyond mutual 
bowings we have nothing to do with them as they 
sit at another table for meals." 

" November 29. — I have not been very flourish- 
ing since I wrote home last, getting acclimatised 
the superior old residenters say ; but I am better 
and have proved two facts, the first, that if you 
are to be laid up this is the most perfect hotel I 
ever saw for it. I have such nice readings in the 
mornings with Kirkpatrick on the Psalms, and 
always feel so glad you gave me the book I use so 
much. 

" I have just been watching Mrs. M'Neil start 
in a hammock so that I may know how to set 
about it gracefully if I want to use one at any 
time. They look very comfortable, but from the 
poor men's point of view a small person like Mrs. 
M'Neil must be a great advantage. I was down 
on the shore for a long time this morning. It is 
such a pretty sea to watch, the waves come in 
with such a wide sweep of pure white foam over 
the black sand. The coast is something like the 
rocks at Ravenshall on the other side of the little 
bay. The top of this house is quite flat from end 
to end, and the views from it so pretty. I like 
walking up there though I don't know enough 
Spanish to be led into doing what the women do 
here. They lean over the parapet and call down 
to their friends passing in the street to have a 
conversation with them. 

" The postal arrangements are curious here. If 
anything looks interesting, officials take possession ; 
if dull, it is left much to itself, but unimportant 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 168 

things generally arrive in the end. Registered 
letters, they say, are very unsafe, and one man 
says he always has his bank-notes sent unregistered 
as it is so much safer ! " 

" December 7. — Thank you very much for your 
two letters. Every one is so good in writing to 
me. For the last ten days we have felt rather 
inclined to grumble at this superior climate for it 
has rained more or less every day. The warmth, 
of course, is greater than at home but not warm 
enough to enjoy sitting out for the whole morning 
as we did when I first arrived. I made an expedi- 
tion up to the ' Villa ' last Friday, about three 
miles off. It is about the same size as this part 
of the town, and certainly is a very picturesque 
place with its steep streets and old balconies, some 
of the last quite beautiful with carving. My 
driver knew no English nor where Miss Mac- 
donald lived, so having asked the waiter here to 
give directions I started off to find her, and was 
put down as near the house as the carriage could 
go. The streets were too steep and too narrow to 
drive up to the door. Some jolly little boys were 
anxious to help me and took me safely to two 
wrong places. Happily I had put her card in my 
pocket before starting, so saw an intelligent-looking 
man who I thought ought to be able to read, and 
poked it at him with enquiring gesticulations and 
he showed me the house. Old Mrs. Smith lives 
close to this in such a pretty little house, and has 
asked me to go and sit in her garden with my 
books whenever I like. She is very amusing and 
gives you her opinion about things most clearly 



164 ALICE MAXWELL 

and decidedly. She looks back longingly to the 
time when she first came here (twenty years ago) 
and things were primitive and quiet. Now, she 
says, we foreigners have spoilt it all with never- 
ending ' At Homes ' and goings about. 
" Sunshine again and it looks settled." 
" December 22. — I am afraid my last letter to 
you was rather a grumble, so send another to-day 
to tell you I am getting on all right. I was rather 
disappointed to find I could not do more after the 
month of idleness at home before coming here, but, 
after all, I have nothing more to do this year than 
I can do easily and that is the thing, not my own 
pet plans of reading books, etc. The Bishop of 
Sierra Leone was here for Sunday and Monday, and 
preached so helpfully in the morning and evening 
on Sunday. The morning sermon was good to 
listen to, ' Be of Good Cheer,' and its four meanings 
— pardon, peace, power or victory, and praise or 
commendation (St. Matthew ix. 2, Acts xxiii. 11), 
God's praise to faithful workers giving them more 
work to do for Him. On Monday there was a 
gathering at the Parsonage to hear of the work in 
Sierra Leone. It was very interesting." 

" December 28. — Our Christmas here was very 
nice indeed. A day or two before a Mr. and Mrs. 
Eveleigh came to stay as they had not been well, 
and thought a change down here from their house 
on the upper regions would be good for them. 
They are youngish, bright, and the essence of 
friendliness, taking us all up on the spot as if they 
had known us all our lives. We could not have 
any service as the clergyman, Mr. Hannington, was 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 165 

ill, and there was not time to arrange for any one 
else to take it. After breakfast I went to see my 
old lady, Mrs. Stirling, to wish her a happy Christ- 
mas. She has been rather dull here in her rooms 
by herself, and going in and out to see her has been 
one of my occupations. It rained after luncheon, 
but after tea I went out for a little. There were 
just eight of vis at dinner. The table was simply 
lovely with smilax and roses laid on it, and wreaths 
of smilax stretching from one to another of the 
shaded candelabra. Such a happy, kindly friend- 
liness all round that you would never have thought 
we had seen so little of each other. Mrs. M'Neil 
and I agreed that no other hotel in the place could 
have had such a quietly happy Christmas dinner 
as we had. Mrs. Stirling sent me a lovely almanac 
with quotations from Dean Farrar, and other 
people sent me cards. Really they are very good 
to strangers here." 

" January 1897. — My New Year's dinner up at 
the Grand Hotel was rather too long and stately — 
fifteen courses and two hours' duration — to be 
very lively. 

" A Gymkana got up by the American Com- 
mittee came off ten days ago and was rather amus- 
ing. The weather was very Scotch. It began with 
a dangerously grey sky, then rain came and every- 
body took refuge in the hotel ; then it got better, 
and we went out again in a dampish atmosphere 
to watch the games. After that we all sat on the 
lawn-tennis ground, drinking tea and eating cakes 
with cloaks on the seats to keep the wet off and little 
puddles that had been left by the rain all about us." 



166 ALICE MAXWELL 

But her thoughts were full of the dear ones far 
away, and many loving words were written to 
them. To one she writes : 

" January 5. — I have many loving thoughts for 
you in my heart for this year. May it indeed be a 
happy one — full of faith and trust in Our Father 
who is so full of care for us, full of opportunities 
for serving Him, gladly taken up for His dear 
sake. That is something of what I would seek 
for those I love as well as for myself. Yet many 
things that we cannot put into words and hardly 
realise ourselves remain, but the fulness of His 
love is ready to supply those, too, to the hearts 
that ' Wait on the Lord ' to receive them from His 
hands." 

In some ways these were trying weeks for her. 
The usually beautiful winter climate of the Canary 
Islands proved most disappointing that year, 
strength was not returning as quickly as she had 
hoped, and headaches still troubled her if she read 
much. But her trust in the wisdom and love of 
her Heavenly Father's plan for her never faltered. 
" The essence of discipleship is acquiescence in the 
will of God " were the last words of a devoted 
minister just entering into his rest, and they seem 
a picture of her own mind at that time. 

Christmas cards with pictures of places in the 
Islands and the words chosen and written in her 
own handwriting were sent to many she loved. 
For one who, she knew, was watching with anxious 
longing the result of her year's rest she copied 
these words on a card : 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 167 

My future I can leave safe in Thy care, 
I place it in Thine hand and leave it there. 

It is so sweet to feel, my whole life long, 
Thy loving plan for me cannot go wrong. 

I know that Thou wilt choose the best for me, 
And I can be at rest and trust to Thee. 

To another, with a picture showing " A pet view 
from my balcony," her chosen words were : 

Broken vows, unanswered prayers, 
Vain endeavours, sad despair, 
Weary working, useless toil, 
Fruitless sowing in earth's soil, 
Plans o'erturned and wishes crossed, 
Souls unsaved and labours lost, 
Such, O Lord, my lot must be 
If I work apart from Thee. 

Help each step upon the way, 
Strength sufficient for the day, 
All things easy in Thy might, 
Work for Thee a felt delight ; 
Courage, patience, grace supplied, 
All things needful at Thy side ; 
Such my happy lot will be, 
Working, dearest Lord, with Thee. 

January 22, she writes : " Now that really nice 
weather has come I feel it is possible to see the 
comical side of the two last months, but, oh dear, 
it was not nice to sit in the house after coming so far 
with one's feet on a hot tin or hugging a hot-water 
bottle to get warm, and longing for a fire to sit over. 
The apologies of the residenters grew stale long 
ago ! However, the three last days have been 



168 ALICE MAXWELL 

perfect, and any number of congratulations on 
sitting out basking in the sun will meet the fact if 
this continues, which it really does look like. It 
has been a great help having some one like Mrs. 
M'Neil to laugh with over our wet experiences. 
She and her hot-water bottle have sat, slept, and 
walked together." 

" January 27. — We are very happy, for at last, 
after all these weeks of waiting, warm dry weather 
and sunshine have come. I had such a lovely drive 
round the coast with the Eveleighs on Monday. 
We went to Tchod where you have a much better 
view of the Peak than here. It was a long day 
from eight in the morning till after seven at night ; 
but well worth some after-effects of bed and 
neuralgia to get such a memory. I don't think I 
ever saw anything more grandly beautiful than at 
one place, where the broken ground stretched up 
to the dark pine forest, and the white snow-covered 
Peak rose so splendidly above it. One just thought 
how ' Mountains and all hills ' do praise the Lord. 
The day was perfect, and the whole seen without a 
cloud, which is very unusual. Here you have no 
idea what the Peak is, for the view is so much 
intercepted. 

" There are very few canaries wild here, I am 
told, and the wild ones are all green. The small 
number of birds of any kind strikes one, and none 
of them with very bright colouring." 

"February 18. — Our last exceptional experience 
has been an African sand storm. Clothes, books, 
and everything was covered with fine white sand, 
and houses outside were seen through a thick mist. 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 169 

I thought it was a thick fog till it was explained to 
me with the positive assurance that such a thing 
had not been known for years, and then only for 
one day. It was frightfully close and heavy while 
it lasted, and bad headaches all round were the 
result ; so we are glad it has passed off this morning. 
I am thinking of making a move to Guimar the 
middle or end of next month." 

" We have had a very sad time lately with the 
poor T.'s. He died last Sunday night, and as she 
had none of her own people with her, Mrs. M'Neil 
and I did what we could. Her sister arrived on 
Thursday, and they left for England yesterday. 
There is to be a general break-up of our winter 
party next week." 

" April 1. — A telegram from Guimar this morn- 
ing saying they have a room for me. I expect 
great things from my time there, for the report is 
that there is bracing mountain air and really bright 
hot sunshine. I have just been up to Mrs. Smith 
to say good-bye, but found her out. I must try 
again for she has been good and sweet to me all the 
time I have been here. Egger, the manager, has 
been specially nice and obliging, and to-day is 
crowning all his past obligements by packing up a 
whole quantity of pottery that I have got for Mary, 
in a barrel of his own with packing stuff of his own, 
all for nothing. Do you remember the Gospels 
and books I brought with me ? A Miss Nicol I 
know here was so glad of them and only wishes I 
had more. It is nice to feel that they really have 
been of use after all." 

" April 6. El Bien Retiro, Guimar. — I came 



170 ALICE MAXWELL 

here yesterday, and certainly the air is quite different 
from Orotava, much keener and fresher, and not 
too hot yet. This is a queer rambling sort of house, 
a kind of inside outside place, rooms and passages 
opening out quite indiscriminately, under the cover 
of a roof or the heavens themselves, as if a queer 
collection of lofts and outhouses had been put 
together and furnished as an hotel. My bedroom 
is quite nice, whitewashed walls and ceiling, a rough 
door painted blue, and blue shutters, the floor 
quite bare except a wee bit of carpet near my bed. 

" I expect to be very happy, for there are many 
nice things about the place. It is nicely managed 
by Miss Trew, who came originally with her sister, 
who is delicate. She is such a nice girl and every- 
body likes her. The country is quite different from 
Orotava, and there were some splendid bits of 
scenery on the way here from Laguna, where I 
stayed the night before last, so as to break the 
long drive." 

" April 20. — This is such a lovely place on the 
side of the mountains, and such grand views all 
round. The sunshine is brilliant, but there is 
always a fresh wind. I always go out for a walk 
after four o'clock tea, and the sunset colouring is 
most beautiful. The lava is so dark and the ground 
in other places has such a rich red tone. It is 
wonderful how the self-sown fig-trees find nourish- 
ment enough to grow so large among the lava. 
There are hardly any other trees to be seen, but 
they are a beautiful green. The air here is doing 
me good, and the sun warms one through and 
through. 



WOMAN'S GUILD CONFERENCES 171 

" I intend to go to Reno di Oro on the 3rd of 
May so as to be in good time to meet the Orotava 
when it arrives on the 5th at Santa Cruz. I am 
told it is everything to be on the spot to seize 
upon the berths you want, for the ones you have 
taken are not otherwise always kept for you. 
This feels a very cramped -up little place after 
Martianez, but I am glad I came as it is nice 
seeing the different parts of the Island. The 
walks are very pretty, but of the roughest, and 
it is tiresome to have to look at your feet when 
you want to admire the view. However, having 
twisted my ankle jumping off a rock on to a piece 
of wood I have learnt wisdom." 

" April 29. — A great many people left yester- 
day, among them a large party who had a perfect 
horror of fresh air. The mother and two boys — 
twelve and fourteen — started in lovely sunshine 
behind respirators to walk down the little hill to 
the closed carriage. One wonders what more can 
be done on the chilly days they are sure to meet 
on their way to England ! Now they are away 
we are having a much better time with open 
windows, etc. Yesterday a Mr., Mrs., and Miss 
Wooley arrived. They are very nice and pleasant. 
The sister is a dear old person and reminded me 
of Miss Anderson, both inside and out, over and 
over again. She has just the same kind, good- 
natured way of helping people and talks as if it 
were nothing. The nicest person in the house is 
Miss Trew, the young lady housekeeper. She has 
such a burden of care with the hotel, and such 
anxiety about a very delicate sister who lives with 



172 ALICE MAXWELL 

her and cannot be taken home to England because 
of the climate. She is so bright and brave about 
it all when she is among us, but the tears are very 
near the surface when she speaks of her sister or 
hears other people speak of going home." 

" This Cuban War is bringing great distress 
among the people, for all the men are being called 
out, and the poor families left to shift very much 
for themselves. 

" It feels delightful to be writing my last letters 
from over the sea and far away." 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 



173 



He saved others ; Himself He cannot save. 

St. Mark xv. 31. 



Saviour, the words were true 
Though said in scorn 
By one who dreamt not of the truth he spake. 
He could not fathom, Lord, 
That depth of love, 
Which kept Thee bound 
By chains more strong than earth's, 
A willing sufferer on Thy bitter Cross. 

L. M. M. 



If good desires would save mankind it would surely 
have been delivered long ago. The difference between idle 
wishes and the deliberate heart choice of the world's true 
benefactor is, that the latter consents to pay the price which 
some one has to pay. — Life of Mrs. Booth. 



174 



CHAPTER IX 

NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 

After her return to England Miss Maxwell spent 
some time with her relations in the country, and 
was ready in September to begin her work again 
at the Deaconess House. The year's rest had not 
done all that was hoped for her, but the Deaconess 
House Board valued her wise supervision of the 
House and work and her inspiring influence on 
those she was training too much to be willing to 
let her give up her post, even if she were not able 
herself to do the full work of other years. Some 
new arrangements were begun in the hope of making 
her own burden less heavy, and she cheerfully set 
to work again, knowing that strength needed for 
the Master's work could never fail her. 

The winter was a busy one and the Deaconess 
House was full to overflowing. At the Conference 
at Dundee in 1899 she tells how the Committee 
had had to face a most delightful yet most puzzling 
problem — " how to put fourteen full-grown people 
into the space of eleven." The only way possible 
at that time was to take rooms for them in a 
boarding-house two doors off, where they could 

175 



176 ALICE MAXWELL 

sleep at night and spend all their time at the 
Deaconess House. But this was not a very satis- 
factory plan, and it was a great gain when in 1918 
the house adjoining was bought, where the top 
rooms could be kept as additional quarters for the 
Deaconess House residents. During the winter 
session nineteen residents had been in training at 
the Deaconess House for longer or shorter periods : 
six training for the Foreign Mission field, six for 
Home Mission work, four who had not decided 
whether their call was to Home or Foreign Mission 
work, and three for work in their own homes. 

And then longing to draw others to that holy, 
blessed work of self-sacrificing love which she had 
found so satisfying and full of joy, but felt it might 
not be possible for her to continue for a very much 
longer period, she said : " Lastly, I come to a point 
I should like to leave very distinctly before every- 
body's mind. Notwithstanding the increase in the 
number of those who have come to us for training 
and who have already gone out to prove valued 
workers for God, there is still a felt want, which 
there surely need not be in a Church like the 
Church of Scotland. In the first chapter of Acts 
we read of the early Christian Church as a small 
body, and yet we find many people of means who 
were willing to throw in their lot with others, 
giving themselves and all they possessed wholly 
and definitely to God's work. We do not find this 
the case in the Church of Scotland and yet it 
cannot be for lack of numbers. I have been told 
of an old Pastor who constantly reminded his 
Deaconesses that * every community demands 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 177 

sacrifices,' the sacrifice of give and take with its 
gentle restraint of self. That there is a certain 
pleasantness of liberty in individual work un- 
trammelled by co-operation with a community one 
cannot help feeling and knowing perfectly well. 
Is it unwillingness to give up this independence 
that holds back some who could otherwise come 
forward and help us ? 

" Speaking of myself, I have certainly found it 
possible to do more in God's great army of workers 
as a member of the Deaconess Band than I could 
ever have done as an independent worker, and I 
thank God for the opportunities and privileges of 
service which He has so put before me. 

" I would not press home my way of looking at 
work, for why should I ? But in a fair report one 
must give the shortcomings as well as the achieve- 
ments, and I want to ask each one to settle the 
question for herself in view of this felt need." 

The Conference of Deaconesses was held as usual 
at the Deaconess House in September, and Dr. 
Charteris spoke earnestly of the advantage and 
wisdom of maintaining this time of mutual fellow- 
ship in full vigour. " It is the only thing," he 
said, " except your dress which is an outward 
evidence of the bond which unites you. 1 You are 
scattered over the land — over the world indeed, 
and have no other opportunity of meeting your 
comrades in the Order. You also, by your coming, 
strengthen your union with the Deaconess House. 
It is not for every one of you the Mother House. 
But you are adopted children, if not born in the 

1 See Appendix C, p. 254. 

N 



178 ALICE MAXWELL 

family, and it is the only visible centre you have. 
It is of great importance for the future that this 
House should be regarded as the topmost stone of 
the Pyramid, whose broad base is the Woman's 
Guild in every Scottish parish, whose tapering 
point is the Deaconess Order seeming to ordinary 
Guild Members far up in the empyrean. This 
House and the Hospital are sisters, not quite twins, 
for this is the elder, but for ever inseparable. 

" You will need to keep before you, and try to 
bring before others, the original purpose of the 
Order. Your action when you became a Deaconess 
was the consecrating of yourself to the service of 
Christ in His Church. It was the dedication of 
yourself to Church work and not merely to a 
Christian life. To the Christian life you had been 
pledged at the Communion table, but to the work 
of the Church you took a new and further pledge 
on the day of your ordination. A mere occasional 
bit of service will not justify you in wearing your 
uniform. Your power of giving tone and character 
to the whole Deaconess movement is incalculable. 
' There are diversities of operations, but it is the 
same God that worketh all in all ' (1 Cor. xii. 6). 
This is your hope : God has said, ' My Word shall 
not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish 
that which I please.' Not His servant's word, 
His own Word. If you covet earnestly the best 
gifts for your work you will get them ; and you will, 
moreover, find that you thus rise to ' the more 
excellent way ' of Divine Charity or love of which 
the next chapter in 1 Cor. tells — full of hope but 
greater far than mere hope. 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 179 

" Your own experience will tell you whether I 
am right in your case, but I think the chief diffi- 
culty in Home Missions is to combine general with 
specific work. Our Lord went to and fro over the 
land, visiting all towns and cities, and yet how 
long time He gave to the individual case. Any 
individual could stop Him and receive all needed 
attention : the Nain funeral, the woman with the 
issue of blood, blind Bartimaeus, the Syrophenician 
woman. How can we reproduce that Divine Life 
of work which neglected neither the general nor 
the special, with neither rush nor rest ? How, 
indeed, but by constant thought and prayer, so 
that the mind may be in us that was in Christ 
Jesus ; so that we may find time to give special 
care to special cases and yet never forget that we 
have a message to all. Go round the whole — 
therefore am I sent ; take time to help this one — 
for therefore am I stopped by him or her." 

A new development of Guild work was begun 
in 1900 through the loving energy of Mrs. Charteris, 
the Guild President ; and Miss Maxwell always 
took a keen interest in its progress. The children 
of the Churches' missionaries, who had no relations 
of their own able to care for them in their parents' 
absence, and too often had to be left with those 
who had no interest in their highest welfare, were 
always near Mrs. Charteris' heart. By her earnest 
appeals in the Woman's Guild Supplement and 
among her personal friends she succeeded in collect- 
ing the sum of £3000, and in the spring of that 
year a suitable house with sufficient accommoda- 
tion, a large old-fashioned garden behind, and 



180 ALICE MAXWELL 

beautiful views and fresh air all round it, was 
bought for this purpose in the little country village 
of Duddingston, near Edinburgh. Some altera- 
tions were needed to make the old house suitable 
for the small family who were to fill it, but that 
was soon accomplished, and when the Home was 
opened on the 1st of June, with its bright airy 
rooms, freshly papered and painted, and in one a 
goodly supply of picture-books and toys, sent by 
the loving hearts of other little ones from their 
own nurseries, it looked, as it has proved, a most 
perfect home for the children. The Home-House 
is near enough for the children to attend school in 
Edinburgh, and the healthy country breezes and 
loving care which always surround them make 
doctors' visits very rarely necessary. 

The Home is under the care of Miss Paterson, 
one of the Deaconesses of the Church. For many 
years she was assisted by her sister, Miss Minnie 
Paterson, who has left a beautiful and holy 
memory with the little ones she tended so gently 
and lovingly. The Aunties, as the children love 
to call the kind friends, who have done so much 
for them, can now claim nephews and nieces in 
many countries, and at almost every Mission 
station of the Church of Scotland. What it has 
meant to the hearts of many anxious parents in 
their distant spheres of work to feel that their 
little ones are being brought up among such healthy 
surroundings and under such wise and loving care 
it is difficult to say. 

Miss Maxwell was a member of the Home-House 
Board of management. The children knew and 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 181 

loved her, and her Christmas party for them, 
when the pink and white sugared cakes they 
looked forward to were never forgotten, and 
not one but three dips in the lucky-bag allowed 
for each child, and a drive home in cabs hired 
for them, ended a happy evening, was among 
their greatest annual treats. 

One year, on account of the death of one of 
the Deaconess band on Christmas day, Miss 
Maxwell felt she could not have the party at 
the Deaconess House, but she did not wish to 
deprive the children of the pleasure she knew 
they were expecting. So a cab was sent for and 
Miss Maxwell appeared at the Home-House laden 
with the cakes, crackers, fruit, flowers, and presents 
she had prepared for them, and asked that they 
might be used to give them a thoroughly happy 
evening at the Home-House, as she could not 
invite them to the Deaconess House that year. 
Even in her last days of suffering, thoughts of the 
Home-House children were present to her, and 
though hardly conscious of what was passing 
round her she spoke of the tea she would like 
to be made ready for them. 

With her busy days full of work connected 
with the Guilds and Deaconess House it was 
difficult for Miss Maxwell to find time for outside 
engagements, but about this time she was asked 
and consented to give an address, which was 
very much appreciated, to the Scotch Girls' 
Friendly Society workers. " We all work more 
or less," she said, " through the organisation 
of Churches, of Societies, and of Guilds, and rightly 



182 ALICE MAXWELL 

so, I think, for the God whom we would seek to 
serve is a God of order. Besides there is a strength 
in organised work, though at times we may feel 
its restraint, which there can never be in individual 
work; the former has a strength of continuance, 
while the latter is apt to end with the life of the 
individual who first begins it. But at the same 
time organisation can never go deeper than the 
shell, and it is well for us to give ourselves time 
now and again to look inside the shell and weigh 
the life it holds. 

" This I would do just now by suggesting three 
questions : What is my aim ? What is my stand- 
ard ? and What is my sufficiency ? for the two 
first would leave us in hopeless despair unless 
followed by the last. 

" First, then, What is my aim ? I think some- 
times we are apt to confuse method with aim, 
whereas they are quite different. As Christian 
workers we may have many methods, according 
to character and circumstances. One of strong 
intellect may with clear terse arguments win souls 
for Christ; another, by the God-given talent of 
song, may do so ; while yet another may draw them 
with the winsome fervour of a loving disposition. 
Then we hear of schemes for better housing and 
better clothing — all so good, for who does not 
long that each individual life and each family life 
should add its quota of beauty to God's beautiful 
earth and not to the Devil's wretched marring 
of it ? But these are only methods, and may be 
innumerably multiplied by the workers of God. 
"Not so the aim — for that surely must be 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 183 

single— to win souls for Christ. Many methods 
but one aim. 

" At times it would be good for us to take, as it 
were, a measuring-line, and placing the one end on 
our method, carry it along the line of our thoughts 
and see where the other end rests. It may rest 
in three places, — love of self, with its self-glori- 
fication and self-will; love of philanthropy, 
with its desire after universal happiness and 
morality ; or love of souls, with its intense longing 
to win them for Christ and Eternity. As workers 
for Christ we cannot rest satisfied with anything 
short of the last. Any method we may find best, 
but let us see that the other end reaches the right 
point ; for the winning of souls is the one true 
aim of Christian work. 

" Secondly, What is my standard ? A worker 
was once walking along the street with a friend, 
who said, ' I don't know how you can go to places 
like this ; it is very noble of you.' The answer 
came quickly, ' You would not say so if you 
remembered the One for Whom it is done.' Yes, 
there is the Mainspring — the One for Whom it is 
done. As His followers we would see His Standard, 
and that is given to us very distinctly, not by 
one of His loving disciples, who stood in agony 
at the foot of the cross, but all unconsciously 
by one of the jeering crowd, ' He saved others ; 
Himself He cannot save.' Yet how often our 
meagre service would apparently twist those 
words into something far, far different. ' She saves 
others when herself she can save.' We take our 
spare time, our spare money, our spare strength 



184 ALICE MAXWELL 

that is over and above what we need for our own 
ease and offer it to God, and so the Standard 
of Christ is dragged in earth's dust and covered 
with the mire and the clay of a selfish, easygoing 
service. 

" Our Leader lifted His Standard of self-sacrifice 
on high, and looks to His followers to carry on 
His work with the same Standard — ' He saved 
others ; Himself He cannot save.' 

" Do we say the aim is too single, the standard 
too high for human frailty ? Yes, it is far above 
us, and therefore my third question, ' What is 
my sufficiency ? ' 

" I was once visiting some friends, and one day 
when standing before the fire with the master 
of the house I saw a look of vexation pass over 
his face as he looked up at some beautiful little 
Dresden china figures which had been chipped. 
' I never let the housemaid touch them,' he said, 
' for I remember the price I paid for them too 
well.' Christ paid the price of His life's blood 
for souls and yet He trusts His servants to do 
their part in brushing off the dust of earth. Well 
may our work have the touch of reverence, for 
it is so high that it reaches far into Eternity ! 
Well may it have the touch of humility, for the 
instrument that works is so weak and foolish ! 
Yet we need not be fearful or dismayed, for the 
great Apostle who asks the question, ' Who is 
sufficient for these things ? ' supplies us also 
with the answer, ' Not I, but the grace of God 
which was with Me.' That same ' grace ' is still in 
the world, ready and abundant for you and me ; 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 185 

therefore, taking hold of that grace, let us not be 
discouraged, but go forward as workers for God, 
strong in the Lord and in the power of His 
might." 

The Woman's Guild Conference was held at 
Stirling in 1901, and Miss Maxwell's words at it 
were on Prayer, its place in the Spiritual Life 
or Life of Holiness ; for these are just two ways, 
she said, of speaking of the same thing, the Presence 
of the Holy Spirit within us creating and developing 
the holy graces of God in our hearts and lives. 
Prayer must be at the root and starting-point of 
every effort after perfection in the Christian life. 
The perfect ideal of personal holiness, of home 
life, of social life, of Christian life, can make no 
progress unless it is upheld by constant prayer ! " 

A most happy outcome of the Glasgow Con- 
ference next year was the inauguration of a Guild 
Temperance Tent, which could be moved to 
different parts of the country where shows were 
to be held or any public function taking place. 
It was to be worked by Guildswomen in the in- 
terest of Temperance, the expense of carriage and a 
small sum for its use being paid by those who 
applied for it. The thirty-seven pounds needed 
were collected without difficulty, and by June the 
tent was ready and began its round of useful and 
most helpful engagements at the St. Bos wells Cattle 
Show. Then it went on to Kinross and Auldearn 
for country shows in both these places, and to 
Crossmichael and Stranraer for sales of work. 
At all it was found most useful, and the well-cooked 
food, and the cheery brightness of those who took 



186 ALICE MAXWELL 

the management of it, made it a centre of much 
good at the local shows. 

Other tents were afterwards started as the 
advantages of such efforts were recognised, and 
when well managed the tents more than paid 
their way. From St. Boswells a handsome 
donation was sent to the Committee, with the 
prayer that the tent might prove as great a blessing 
and success in other places as it had there. The 
work often made a heavy draw on the strength 
and business capacities of those in charge, but they 
gladly gave their help. At one of the Highland 
Agricultural Shows the drawings at the Temperance 
Tent amounted to £631, but the expenses included, 
among other items, 1500 lbs. of beef, 270 lbs. of 
salmon, 170 lbs. of butter, 1500 lbs. of strawberries, 
and a quarter of a ton of sugar ! The takings 
more than covered the expenses, but these figures 
give an idea of the labour entailed on those who 
undertook the work. 

Another Guild effort on Temperance lines 
was begun the following year, owing to the interest 
excited at the Guild Conference held that year 
in London, on the warm invitation of the Crown 
Court and Pont Street Church Guilds. Many 
Deaconesses and Parish Sisters labouring in poor 
districts and in prisons felt the need of some 
quiet place where those who had fallen under 
the bondage of strong drink could be helped 
and strengthened in the hard fight against tempta- 
tion. They knew that the evil surroundings 
among which many of them lived made the struggle 
doubly hard, and that in many cases the only 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 187 

hope of reformation seemed separation for a time 
from their homes and environments, in a place 
where they could be brought under healthful 
and Christian influences. The proposal to start 
such a home was made during the Conference, 
and at the business meeting the question was 
suddenly asked, " How much money do you 
want ? " and acting on advice as suddenly given, 
the reply came, " One hundred pounds." That 
amount was afterwards found to be inadequate, 
but a sufficient sum was collected, and on March 
26, 1904, the Home, under the name of the " Guild 
Cottage," was opened with a short service con- 
ducted by the Rev. Professor Kennedy and Dr. 
Robertson. Miss Maxwell was one of the many 
friends who were present. She was a member 
of the Committee, and always took a warm and 
helpful interest in the success of the scheme. 

The first house taken was near Lasswade. A 
move was afterwards made to the neighbourhood 
of Polmont, but in 1910 a house, again near 
Lasswade, was rented, and the work of love and 
pity, which has rescued many sorely tempted 
ones from a life of degradation, carried on there. 
Sewing, laundry work, and poultry-keeping were 
among the occupations of the inmates, and the 
beautiful garden round the house was a means of 
healthy work and recreation, and a great pleasure 
and advantage to them. Miss Catherine Cowie 
was the first superintendent of the Home, and Miss 
Margaret Johnston later on spent many years of 
loving and helpful labour in its service. 

The Woman's Guild Conference was held at 



188 ALICE MAXWELL 

Galashiels in 1904. During its sitting Miss Max- 
well made an earnest appeal for the money needed 
to complete the building of the Lady Teachers' 
House at Kalimpong, a mission which had been 
chosen as their special charge by the Woman's 
Guild, and in which she always took a deep interest. 
Her admiration for Dr. Graham, the head of the 
Mission, and for the splendid work carried on by 
him in the Colonial Homes for Eurasian children, 
was very great. 

The year 1905 was a year of enlarged projects. 
In bright May weather the Woman's Guild Con- 
ference met in Inverness, " the beautiful capital of 
the north," as its votaries love to call it. Miss 
Maxwell gave a most interesting resume of the 
work that had been done during the past years in 
the Deaconess House, District, and Hospital, and 
spoke of the fresh developments in view. " During 
the last year," she said, " fourteen residents have 
taken advantage of the training given at the 
Deaconess House. Two left last autumn for the 
Foreign Mission field, one for Calcutta, and one 
for Kalimpong, and two for work in the Home 
Mission field. Two passed on to the Hospital for 
their nursing training and seven still continue their 
training in the Deaconess House — three with a 
view to Home Mission work and four who look 
forward to working abroad. Lectures and classes 
were carried on as usual during the winter session, 
and the summer session is now going on. A large 
portion of the time allotted to lectures and classes 
is always devoted to Bible study, but besides this 
last winter we had lectures on the History of the 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 189 

Church, on Christian Work, on Social Reform, and 
on the Foreign Missions of our Church. 

" The summer session includes, besides Bible 
study, a class for sick and artisan cookery, a class 
for cutting out garments, and a course of Mis- 
sionary addresses given by different missionaries, 
now at home on furlough. 

" The various meetings and classes have been 
carried on in the Mission district of St. Ninian's, 
but the great effort to teach our district people 
has, as always, been specially in the direction of 
house-to-house visitation, for in this way we meet 
with them individually. There is a wonderful 
craving in every heart for individual sympathy 
from the personal friend. It came out strangely 
the other day, when the visitor expressed surprise 
that a poor woman, who had seen better days, but 
had come down terribly, showed such gratitude 
for what she had done and yet had none for the 
far greater thing that Jesus had done. ' Yes,' she 
said, ' He did it for everybody, but what you have 
done has been just for me' Mistaken theology 
and a selfish mind were there to be enlightened 
and widened, but one saw that the craving for 
individual sympathy and recognition of person- 
ality had been met on a lower level, and prayed 
that the response might rise from there to the 
higher level of the Divine personal knowledge and 
love. 

" And now of our Hospital with its busy life 
always going on. During the last year 341 patients 
have been treated in the wards, and our district 
nurses have attended 821 cases in their own homes, 



190 ALICE MAXWELL 

many of these requiring daily attendance which 
brings up the number of visits paid to 4663. 
Besides the benefit which the patients derive from 
these visits the district nursing forms a most 
valuable part of the training, specially for those 
going abroad. 

" The wards look very bright and cheerful with 
the flowers so constantly supplied by Guild 
Branches and individual friends, but one cannot 
help feeling sad as one looks at some of the beds. 
In one there is an old lady, very gentle and quiet, 
but ' this pain ' she says, as the patient tears 
gather in her eyes, ' it is always there ' ; and we 
know, though the arm has been removed, that it 
always will be, till she is taken to the Home where 
there is no more pain. 

" But we would look forward, not merely look 
back. The very goodness of God, who has blessed 
us in the past, should spur us on to greater things. 
In 1887 we began our Mission work in a strange 
poky little mission place in St. Leonard's Street, 
and it took several steps onwards and upwards 
before we arrived at the present St. Ninian's 
Mission buildings. As regards the nursing training 
too, the Life and Work Committee did not jump 
to the conclusion that this branch of training 
was required and straightway build a Hospital. 
Experiments were tried in Glasgow in one of the 
large Infirmaries there, our probationers going 
backwards and forwards morning and evening, 
while sleeping in a Deaconess House of our own. 
This failed, and a similar experiment was tried in 
the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, with a like 




MISSION' HALL AND DEACONESS HOSPITAL. 

To face page 191. 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 191 

result. The directors of these Institutions were 
most willing to help us, but none of these plans 
proved workable, and a Hospital of our own was 
found to be imperative. 

" For some time back (two years, I think, at 
least) the call for further development has been 
before us. At present there are only twenty-eight 
beds in the Hospital, and less than forty is not 
technically qualifying ; this prevents us training 
our own staff-nurses, while it puts all our fully 
trained and practically capable nurses at an unfair 
disadvantage when going out to Home or Foreign 
Missions. We would therefore increase the number 
of our beds to forty, and provide accommodation 
for the greater number of nurses that would of 
course be required in a Nurses' Home. 

" The time for further development in the 
Mission we think has also come. Hitherto we have 
had our Sunday services carried on and the Sacra- 
ments administered in our Mission Hall, where 
classes, services, concerts, and entertainments of 
all kinds are held. This makes it difficult to call 
out the reverence which is so desirable at such 
services. We want to build a place set apart for 
worship ; no grand ornate church which would 
frighten our district people away, but a plain, 
simple building, where our two hundred communi- 
cants and our many adherents will feel at home, 
albeit reverent, when they meet to worship. 

" A most suitable site, adjoining the Mission 
Buildings and Hospital, has been secured. It will 
require at least £10,000 to carry out these schemes 
of development, and we ask our Church to help 



192 ALICE MAXWELL 

us, with good confidence because of past experience, 
and also because our work is no self-contained 
work, but one that touches the whole Church. 
The experienced workers found in St. Ninian's are 
very few ; the beginners are many, the old giving 
place to the new and inexperienced ones each 
successive year, while the trained workers go out 
into the parishes of our Church — here, there, and 
everywhere ; others go out qualified to work in 
the Foreign Mission field. Already about twenty 
have done so, and at present four in the Deaconess 
House and eight in the Deaconess Hospital are 
training with a view to the Foreign field. It has 
been said, as a reproach against our Church, that 
workers for our Foreign Missions had to be drawn 
from other Churches. I think the Deaconess 
House and Hospital have helped and are helping 
to lift this reproach from it. 

" Whose, then, are these arms stretched out, in 
the name of the Saviour of the World, to meet the 
terrible need of our crowded city slums at home 
and the weary need of heathen and Jew abroad ? 
The arms of our St. Ninian's Mission ? Assuredly 
not, but the arms of the Church of Scotland by 
whom they are sent. So to that Church's congrega- 
tions, Guilds, and members we turn and say, ' Help 
us to do your work.' 

" We need the £10,000, so that we may have 
the means of providing fully qualified workers. 
We ask you very earnestly when you return home 
to your branches to tell them about this need, and 
ask them to do their bit as a branch of our Guild, 
and as members of the Church in helping to raise 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 193 

that £10,000. It has been said of mercy — may it 
not be said of giving also ? — ' It is twice blest ; it 
blesses him that gives and him that takes.' " 

Another project carried forward that year was 
a House of Rest for Deaconesses. Dr. Charteris 
had spoken of this at the Deaconess Conference of 
1899, and the thought had for some time been 
simmering in many loving and thoughtful hearts. 
Five years before, £600 had been bequeathed for 
the purpose, the Life and Work Committee had 
voted £200, and, later on, a well-wisher, Miss 
Anderson, a Deaconess herself, had given £500 for 
the same object. The time seemed to have come 
when these plans should be carried out, and Dr. 
Charteris pleaded for the further sum needed to 
start the Home. 

It was intended to be a house where Deaconesses, 
weakened in health from overwork and strain, might 
find rest and refreshment ; where Deaconesses in 
old age could, if they wished, pass the evening of 
their life, still helping as they were able in the 
work of their Lord ; and where Missionary ladies 
at home on furlough, or Home workers, primarily 
Deaconesses, should always find a welcome and 
a pleasant and restful Home. A very moderate 
charge was to be made towards meeting the 
expenses. 

By the spring of 1907 the money needed was 
raised and the Home of Rest opened at Appin 
Lodge, Eskbank, much of the furniture being most 
generously given by Dr. and Mrs. Charteris from 
the old home at Wamphray. Appin Lodge was a 
comfortable old house with a beautiful garden 

o 



194 ALICE MAXWELL 

round it, and suitable in many ways ; but Miss 
Maxwell, who took a keen interest in this, as she 
did in all Guild schemes, felt it was too far from 
Edinburgh, and that a house in the town would on 
the whole be more convenient for workers and 
more cheerful for the older residents. This was 
found to be the case, and eventually 28 George 
Square was bought and seems to answer all the 
proposed purposes. The large garden of the Square 
is a pleasant resort for those who need rest and 
quiet, and the constant tale of the Churches' work 
a never-failing interest to some who, though unable 
to continue their work as before, can still uphold 
their fellow-labourers by their prayers. 

Though giving herself heart and soul to the 
work of her life, Miss Maxwell never forgot the old 
home ties. In the summer of 1907 her holidays 
were spent in Galloway, where she joined the family 
party at Cardoness to share in the happy festivities 
held in honour of the coming of age of her brother's 
only son, William Francis John Maxwell. Her two 
nephews, Alec Macrae and William Maxwell, were 
very dear to their Aunt's heart, and they warmly 
returned the affection. Both only sons, first 
cousins on both their father's and mother's side 
and with only a few months difference in age, 
they had been brought up almost as brothers and 
were deeply attached to each other, sharing one 
another's interests, and spending many of their 
holidays together. 

The coming-of-age festivities had been put off 
for one year on account of the death of their Uncle, 
Sir William Gordon of Earlston ; but on that fair 



NEW PROJECTS AND DEVELOPMENTS 195 

summer day a large party assembled, and bright, 
pure-hearted, and courteous, the two cousins moved 
among the guests, one with the deep, earnest look 
in his eyes which seemed to see beyond the ken of 
earthly things, the other with the keen, blue eye, 
the winning manner, and the sweet, radiant smile 
that brought joy to all that knew him. 

Those who loved them best looked forward with 
thankful hearts to the lives of happiness and useful- 
ness that lay before them. Now, for God and King 
and Country they have both made the great sacrifice, 
and have been laid to rest, one on the bleak shores 
of Gallipoli, the other on the blood-stained soil of 
France — the graves of so many of earth's brightest 
hopes and fairest dreams, but not of that glory 
that excelleth, the pleasures that are at His right 
hand for evermore. Thanks be unto God for His 
unspeakable gift, the gift of His only begotten Son, 
our Lord and Saviour. They are together now 
with the Aunt who loved them so tenderly, unravel- 
ling in the blessedness and glory of the Father's 
presence the mysteries that to our dim earthly 
eyes seem so dark and unfathomable. But to us, 
too, they will be made plain hereafter, as God 
reveals to His children in the ages to come " the 
exceeding riches of His grace " towards them in 
Christ Jesus their Lord. 



WORK IN GENERAL 



197 



He maketh the clouds His chariots. — Ps. civ. 3. 

Oh, make my clouds Thy chariots to bear my spirit home, 
And let them lift me far aloft above the starry dome, 
Above the host of seraphim, above the angel choir, 
Into Thy presence face to face to find my heart's desire ! 

Oh, make my clouds Thy chariots, let them raise me from 

the dust, 
From the mean, and poor, and earthly, from the moth and 

from the rust, 
From the selfishness that wearies, from the vanity that 

cloys, 
To the love that passeth knowledge, to the peace that 

passeth joys ! 

Oh, make my clouds Thy chariots, wherein this heart shall 

run 
To bind each broken life that bleeds beneath the circling 

sun ; 
To touch with kindred sympathy the woes the world hath 

given ; 
And on the wounds of earth to pour the healing balm of 

heaven ! 

Oh, make my clouds Thy chariots ; so shall I learn to see 
That the mist that dims the glory is itself a light from 

Thee; 
For the shadows of the wilderness to me shall sing aloud 
When I find Thy nearest coming in the advent of a cloud ! 

George Matheson. 

From Sacred Songs, published by Messrs. Blackwood & Sons. 



198 



CHAPTER X 

WORK IN GENERAL 

The year 1908 was marked by deep sorrow to those 
who had worked with and under Dr. Charteris in 
all the many plans started by him for the uplift 
and development of the agencies of the Church. 
Suddenly, with no previous warning and with no 
pain, while sitting quietly in their rooms in Melville 
Street, the call came, and with only time to say 
the words, "Oh! Katie," to her who had shared 
every thought and effort of those later years, he 
passed into the presence of the Master he had 
served so truly and faithfully. Miss Maxwell and 
Miss Pirrie hastened to Mrs. Charteris's side as soon 
as they heard of her sudden loss. They went with 
the mourners from Edinburgh to Wamphray, where 
his body was lovingly laid to rest in the churchyard 
of his boyhood's home. To Miss Maxwell the loss 
was very great. His comradeship and warm ap- 
preciation, and the inspiration of his holy and gifted 
life had done much to make a task which often 
seemed far beyond her physical strength possible 
for her. 

At the Guild Conference held in Edinburgh 
next year many tributes were paid to his memory. 

199 



200 ALICE MAXWELL 

Dr. Wallace Williamson, speaking at the Reception 
of Delegates in St. Cuthbert's Hall, said : " From 
the very first in the mind of the Founder and in the 
mind of those who enrolled themselves as members 
of the Woman's Guild there was one note, and that 
note has been the distinguishing feature of the 
Guild all through. It has been the note of Service. 
What can we do for the Master ? What can we do 
for our beloved Land ? What can we do for those 
who have never heard the name of Christ ? and I 
venture to say without exaggeration that it has 
been more present, more evident, and more power- 
ful as a conscious motive of the Woman's Guild 
than it has been of any other organisation in con- 
nection with the Church. We cannot but refer to 
Dr. Charteris, because he has left a great blank in 
our hearts and a great blank in the hearts of the 
leaders of the Church. But I pass quickly from a 
note of sadness to a note of gladness, thanksgiving, 
and pride that God gave to the Church such a man, 
with pride that you can claim him to-day as the 
Founder of this magnificent organisation which 
has done so much for the Church and for Scotland, 
and is now only at the beginning of the magnificent 
service it is going to render in time to come." 

At the Memorial Service in St. Cuthbert's Church 
the Rev. J. Robertson, D.D., of Whittingehame, 
gave a loving tribute based on long personal friend- 
ship to the strong and beautiful life that had passed 
so suddenly to its reward, and ended with these 
earnest words : " As I am addressing representa- 
tives of the Woman's Guild, and am reminded how 
great a number both of men and women throughout 



WORK IN GENERAL 201 

our Church are taking an active part in Christian 
work of many kinds because of doors opened to 
them through the initiative of Dr. Charteris — so 
that he may be said to live and labour still all 
through our Church in and by them — I would end 
my address by reminding you that, greatly as he 
fought for organisation and for the right of the 
Church to add to or adapt its organisation to each 
new time and need, no one felt more than he that 
organisation without spiritual life is worse than 
useless, that service to God and man can be well 
rendered only if the worker's own life in Christ is 
true, and is continually replenished from the Great 
Source. The history of the Church in all ages is 
strewn with the record of spiritual movements 
which were powerful in their beginning because in 
the hearts of their first promoters there was a deep 
feeling of the human need to be met, a great sense 
of the task to be attempted, and a consciousness of 
personal weakness ; but with this, faith in God 
and in the Lord Jesus, utter self-renunciation and 
consecration to Him. While all this marked the 
beginning of the movement, ere very long there 
came to be easy confidence in an organisation, 
weakened intensity of faith in God and of waiting 
upon Him, loss of personal humility, intrusion of 
individual jealousies — no fresh tide of the Spirit. 
Then the organisation cumbered the ground, 
became even an instrument of exclusiveness and 
tyranny. 

" Is anything like this to be the history of the 
Woman's Guild of the Church of Scotland ? It 
can be averted only by life truly from God and con- 



202 ALICE MAXWELL 

tinually renewed. I speak thus plainly because I 
would fill you with fear lest the things I have 
pointed at should befall this organisation which we 
love for its works' sake, for the Church's sake, and 
for its Founder's sake ; and I would count it a 
happy thing if, throughout your Conference now 
begun, every woman joined in the prayers with 
resolute, unsparing self- judgment : ' Lord, is it 
I ? ' with personal confession, with new self- 
consecration ; and that you were able to say of 
this Conference when it is over, ' We think at least 
that we have gone low enough for a blessing.' " 

Miss Maxwell was in the Chair at the Devotional 
Meeting in the evening, and spoke of Dr. Charteris 
in a few words of deep feeling. " We have had our 
Memorial Service this afternoon in memory of our 
dear Founder, Dr. Charteris, but I think we should 
not like to have our first diet of Conference without 
speaking of him too. We shall indeed miss that 
voice of strong faith that was always sounding in 
our ears. Many of us, almost all of us, after we 
have achieved anything, are apt to rest on our 
oars; but it was not so with him. After a thing 
was good he always said, ' Make it better ' ; and 
if it were as good as it could be in one direction then 
he said, ' Develop it in another.' It was never 
' Stand still ' with him, but always the forward 
note ; and it was good to work with him because 
alongside of that strong faith there also went that 
deep, sympathetic comradeship that made one feel 
so brave and so glad to follow him. 

" I think as we look at the numbers of delegates 
who have come together this evening we see that 



WORK IN GENERAL 203 

the forward note is indeed sounding as far as our 
numbers go. 

" But there are two other directions in which 
we long for it to sound even more fully — first, in 
the spiritual life of our Guild. At times we have 
had sadly to admit that in a religious movement 
the increase of numbers has been followed by the 
decrease of spiritual life, and if it is not to be so 
with our Guild as a whole, I think we must pray 
very much and watch very carefully over the 
personal individual life of each member. For one 
thing is very sure — that the spiritual life of the Guild 
as a whole will be according to the spiritual life of 
the individual Guilds woman. 

" And, secondly, we must keep the forward note 
in our minds in regard to our work. I would like 
to close with some words I came across lately, 
' Brethren, be honest.' The Church exists not to 
make a show but to do a great work. With the 
forward note ever sounding in our ears, and ever 
keeping in our hearts that thought of the spiritual 
life of the Guild and the practical life of the Guild, 
I think we may go forward with a strong faith and 
full of hope." 

" Full of hope." Her own life was joyful and 
very full of hope founded on the Almighty power 
and love of the God she trusted. One of the last 
and most beautiful addresses she ever gave was on 
" Hope." 

The subject had been very much in her own 
mind before she spoke of it, and she felt how much 
the spiritual growth of God's children and their 
power of service for their Lord and helpfulness to 



204 ALICE MAXWELL 

others depended on the gift of Hope to inspire and 
to empower. A friend had met her in a car and 
told her of the effort he was making to help others, 
though he felt all the time it was a hopeless task. 

" Impossible " it seemed to her for any true 
work to be done in that spirit, for, she asked in 
the address she gave, " On what ground do we 
base our Hope and claim to be the children of 
Hope, living in an atmosphere of Hope ? 

" But one proviso must be made. Are we 
honestly and sincerely striving to make our wills 
one with God's will, and weighing our purposes to 
see that they are in harmony with God's purposes, 
for, otherwise, we certainly have no true founda- 
tion or just reason for Hope ? 

" Then, if that question can be answered rightly, 
let us go on to see what is our ground of Hope. 

" First, in our spiritual growth. 

" Our God is the God of Hope because He is 
the Almighty God. All mighty ; or do we think 
even if we do not say, half mighty ? 

" We all desire keenly to be nobler, purer, 
holier. What does our Heavenly Father want ? 
Surely far more keenly than we do He desires our 
growth in all that is highest, and with His desire is 
linked His Almighty power. He is able to save — to 
save us individually — ' Ye are the body of Christ 
and members in particular.' So it is in co-operation 
with an All-mighty power that we are wrestling 
when we wrestle against besetting sins, wrestling 
truly but wrestling hopefully to win and overcome. 

" And, secondly, the ground of our Hope in our 
service of helpfulness to others is the same All- 



WORK IN GENERAL 205 

mighty power of the Heavenly Father. Jesus came 
to reveal that Father to us. His words to Philip 
were, 'He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.' 

" The eyes of the blind man were opened. 
' One thing I know, that whereas I was blind now 
I can see.' It was that All-mighty power. 

" The crippled man ' had been now a long time 
in that case,' but immediately at the touch of 
Christ he was made whole. It was the same All- 
mighty power. 

" The palsied man was healed and ' the people 
were all amazed and said, We never saw it in 
this fashion.' Again that ^4W-mighty power. 

" The devil-possessed man. The words of the 
fifth chapter of St. Mark show us the impotency 
of human effort alone to help either ourselves or 
others ; but at the command of Christ he who was 
possessed with the devil and had the legion was 
found sitting and clothed and in his right mind at 
the feet of Christ. That same All-mighty power 
again. 

" Yes ; Hope looks for modern miracles wrought 
through His servants by the ,4^-mighty power of 
God. 

" In the Assembly it was said that Christianity 
was the only religion of Hope. Some false religion 
may hold up high ideals of life, but they can only 
be followed a short way. In human strength alone 
the attainment is hopeless. 

" But it is not so with our God, the God of 
Hope. He gives His children the Triumph song 
now, ' Thanks be unto God who giveth us the 
victory,' and the Hope sure and steadfast of that 



206 ALICE MAXWELL 

glorious, sinless life hereafter at home with God, 
which is ' far better.' 

" Surely His children may go forward with 
gladness of heart as children of ' Hope.' " 

Her hope for the needed additions to the 
Deaconess Hospital had been realised, and after 
speaking at the Guild Conference in Edinburgh of 
the work of the Deaconess House she went on to tell 
of the improvements being made at the Deaconess 
Hospital, " our own little Church Hospital." 

" The alterations which have been so long 
contemplated are now almost completed. The 
primary idea of these alterations was to increase 
the number of beds to forty in order that we might 
train our own staff nurses and give our probationers 
certificates of technical value. 

" But, besides this, there are many secondary 
advantages gained, and some of no small import- 
ance. Hitherto our probationers have had no 
proper training in the nursing of children ; it was 
impossible with just an odd cot or two placed 
rather on sufferance in the adult wards. Now the 
children will have their own ward, with cots of 
different sizes, where all is arranged with a view 
to their requirements and their tastes. Such a 
bright, cheery place it is, with its pretty soft tints, 
and the Noah's Ark animals walking round the 
wall in a most delightful way ; the children's 
hearts will just jump for joy when they look at 
them, unless their pain is too bad, poor wee mites ! 

" Then each of the two wards, men's and 
women's, have balconies, doubled in size and very 
different from the narrow cramped space of old days. 



WORK IN GENERAL 207 

" And the nurses' quarters ! Some time ago 
the Committee bought some houses just behind the 
Hospital intending to turn them into nurses' 
quarters ; but this was found to be impossible owing 
to the state of the walls, and the building had to 
be pulled down. In its place there now stands a 
long low building with a red roof, forming a most 
cheerful feature in the midst of rather sombre 
surroundings. Inside, the place is quite delightful, 
with its long row of bright cosy little bedrooms, 
and, at the end of the passage upstairs, there 
is a sitting-room with a balcony looking out on to 
Arthur's Seat where the nurses will be able to sit 
and rest undisturbed. 

" All these improvements are desirable, and, in 
fact, there was not much choice about the matter, 
for forty beds had to come, and the training of our 
probationers was not complete so long as they had 
only adult nursing. 

" But there is the other side, the side of pounds, 
shillings, and pence to keep up the extra beds ; 
so we have to ask our kind friends to be kinder 
still. We are not afraid, for a child in pain and 
suffering is such a sad sight that it appeals to all, 
and we believe that many a kind thought will 
express itself in welcome gifts for the little ones. 

" For many gifts received during the past year 
for the Hospital and Deaconess Mission we thank 
our sister Guildswomen most cordially. If it had 
not been for the flowers received, the wards would 
not have looked nearly so bright and pretty ; if it 
had not been for eggs, scones, fruit, and many 
welcome gifts from our Guild Branches, the 



208 ALICE MAXWELL 

appetites of the patients would not have been so 
easy to tempt with some unusual little delicacy. 

" And so in our Deaconess House Mission and 
in our Deaconess Hospital we work on, looking 
forward to the day 

When ever blue the sky shall gleam, 
And ever green the sod, 
And man's rude hand deface no more 
The Paradise of God. 

" Meantime, by the grace of God we try to do 
our bit in lessening the world's sin and pain." 

To the great gratification of all interested in the 
work of the Hospital the alterations were completed 
and the new ward and Nurses' Home were opened 
during the sitting of the Assembly in May 1909. 

In December 1908, under the notification of 
the Births Act of 1907, the first official Health 
Visitors had been appointed in Edinburgh. The 
Town Council accepted the offer of voluntary help 
to co-operate with the official efforts being made 
for the visitation of babies in all the areas where 
the death-rate was excessively high. With her 
great love for children the scheme appealed strongly 
to Miss Maxwell, and though at that time already 
overburdened with other duties she took from the 
first a deep and practical interest in its success. 
The secretaries of the Voluntary Health Visitors 
Department felt that, as the town was already 
divided into Church Districts, it would be best to ask 
the Churches to appoint suitable representatives to 
report on the infant life in each district ; by degrees 
this scheme was carried out over the whole city. 



WORK IN GENERAL 209 

Referring to Miss Maxwell's share in this work, 
Mrs. Somerville, Joint Hon. Secretary of the Volun- 
tary Health Visitors, writes : " Miss Maxwell, as 
head of the Deaconess Mission in the Pleasance, 
took an active share in the organising of the 
visitation scheme. She believed, as the secretaries 
believed, that the physical health of the home and 
the moral well-being were so indissolubly united 
that the Town and the Church met on the same 
platform in seeking to lower the death-rate and to 
lessen the damage-rate among the children. Miss 
Maxwell came regularly to the fortnightly meetings 
held in the City Chambers. In the early days 
when difficult questions arose her advice was 
always sought. Her large experience and her 
whole-hearted devotion to the highest ideals made 
her judgement most valuable on all points. If she 
approved, the secretaries were sure that good 
results would follow ; if she disapproved, further 
deliberation was found to be necessary. St. 
Ninian's district was organised by Miss Maxwell 
for baby visitation in 1909, and fortnightly reports 
given in with unfailing regularity. As long as 
strength permitted, Miss Maxwell took a consider- 
able share herself in the baby visitation. She 
received the reports from the other visitors in her 
district, and from these reports filled in the forms 
for transmission to the Public Health Department. 
This secretarial work was faithfully performed by 
Miss Maxwell for some time after she was obliged, 
through weak health, to retire from the active 
work of the Deaconess Institution." 

The list of classes for the winter session of 1909- 

p 



210 ALICE MAXWELL 

1910 show the varied and practical teaching given 
at the Deaconess Institution to those in training. 

They comprise the following subjects: Twelve 
lessons on the Life of Christ, based mainly on the 
Gospel of St. Mark, and eight lessons on St. Paul's 
Epistle to the Galatians, and Philippians, by Miss 
Maxwell. 

Twelve lessons on the Acts of the Apostles and 
eight on the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the 
Pastoral Epistles, by Miss A. F. Stevenson. 

Twelve addresses by the Rev. G. Wilson on the 
Principles and Practice of Evangelistic Work, 
including the following subjects : New Testament 
principles and methods in dealing with individual 
souls; New Testament principles and methods in 
dealing with family and social life, New Testament 
principles and methods in evangelistic teaching and 
addresses, New Testament principles and methods 
of evangelistic work. 

Eight addresses on Missions to the heathen, 
including Missionary responsibility and methods 
of discharging it ; History and achievements of 
Christian Missions, types of Missions, the Missions 
of the Church of Scotland, their fields, methods, 
and work ; Lessons from Missionary Biography, 
by the Rev. A. B. Wann, D.D. 

Eight addresses on Home Missions, their 
methods, agencies, and requirements, by the Rev. 
R. H. Dunlop. 

Outlines of Christian Doctrines — God, Man, Sin, 
The Person and Work of Christ, Salvation, the 
Holy Spirit, the Church, by the Rev. W. Cowan. 

Homiletics and the Preparation of Addresses, 



WORK IN GENERAL 211 

including the Expository Use of Scripture, by 
the Honourable and Reverend Arthur Gordon. In 
connection with this class residents were expected 
to prepare and give in from time to time notes 
of addresses on prescribed subjects. 

A class for preparation of lessons to be taught 
in the Sunday School was held by Miss S. Lamond, 
D.C.S., for some months. A class for reading 
aloud was conducted by Miss Maxwell, and con- 
stant help and instruction given by both Miss 
Maxwell and Miss Lamond in district - visiting 
and dealing with individual cases in the district. 
A class for cutting out garments and similar work, 
with a view to training residents to superintend 
women's and girls' sewing classes, was also held. 

Some notes which seem to have been written 
about this time show Miss Maxwell's views on 
several points. 

" The reason for, or basis on which the 
Deaconess House was first started was — to train 
workers and be a rallying centre for the Diaconate. 

" Essential that a Deaconess be in charge. 

" The Diaconate requires a centre. At Kaisers- 
werth all, even foreign workers, meet every five 
years ; others still more frequently. 

" If the Deaconess House were to become 
merely a college for training, the Diaconate would 
have to appeal to its Committee for some rallying- 
point elsewhere. 

" Instruction is a thing of the hour, while 
parish Mission work is an atmosphere. 

" The harmfulness of the Mission as a whole 
being permanently removed from the Deaconess 



212 ALICE MAXWELL 

House. In that case it is almost inevitable that 
the residents would merely become familiar with 
their own little bit of visiting and their own 
class ; and that the whole relationship of parochial 
work would not be grasped, viz. relationship of 
one class to another, of one worker to another, 
and the relation in which they stand to the 
minister. Conversation at meal -times, etc., re- 
garding any problem brought the whole before 
the residents, and they lived in the atmosphere 
of a common interest. This inevitable loss might 
not be serious, perhaps, for those going to the 
Foreign Mission field, but they come to us by 
ones and twos while there has always been a steady 
supply in numbers of eight or nine of those who 
who are going out as parochial workers. The 
loss of this for them is a very grave thought. 

" The practical work being so much cut down 
has made a difficulty, but if a separation of House 
and Mission is made permanently, I fear it will 
be impossible for the Board to send out parish 
workers with any grip of parish responsibilities 
and relationship, and they will have to learn it 
afterwards by their mistakes." 

The winter was cold. " This cold weather 
makes us all shiver," Miss Maxwell wrote, and 
" the cupboards are bare ! " An earnest appeal 
followed for clothes, new or old, for the poor of 
St. Ninian's district, visited by the residents in 
the Deaconess House. Gifts of this kind proved 
a very valuable assistance to their Mission work, 
and were always distributed with care and wisdom, 
sometimes given free, but more frequently bought 



WORK IN GENERAL 213 

for a small sum by those who needed them. As a 
rule it was found that the influence on the people 
was better and more care was taken of articles 
bought even for a small sum than of those given 
away. 

About this time Miss Maxwell joined the 
Scottish Women's Protestant Union. The baneful 
effect of the Ne Temere Decree, issued bj Pope 
Pius in 1907, grieved her deeply, and she heard with 
indignation of the havoc it was causing both in 
family and individual life. She was always ready 
to acknowledge the self-denying labours and 
splendid courage of some of the members of the 
Romish Church, but the sacerdotal claims of its 
priesthood, the slavery of its confessional, and the 
neglect and frequently absolute refusal to spread 
the life-giving word of God among its people made 
her long to free them from its trammels and bring 
them into a larger and fuller light. 

Her own teaching was always deeply Evangelical 
and Protestant, as the following notes of one of the 
carefully prepared addresses found among her papers 
show. The address was on those beautiful words in 
Phil. iii. 10, " The Fellowship of His Sufferings." 

" ' The Fellowship of His sufferings,' Phil. iii. 10, 
or Sharers. One, alone by Himself in the Sufferings 
of the Atonement. ' One Mediator,' 1 Tim. ii. 5. 

" ' But, Labourers together with God,' 1 Cor. iii. 9. 

u « Workers together with Him,' 2 Cor. vi. 1. 

" As we become ' Workers together with Him,' 
so we enter into the meaning of the words in 2 Cor. 
vi. 10. Slight religion often means slight suffering, 
deeper religion often deeper suffering. Are we ready? 



214 ALICE MAXWELL 

" If so let us remember — Deeper suffering 
with Christ means deeper joy with Christ also. 
' Rejoice with me,' St. Luke xv. On earth as well 
for St. John xv. 15. 

" Christ's sufferings. 

" Through persecution and contempt, Isaiah 
liii. From the day of His birth to the day of 
His death He suffered both active persecution 
and contempt. Simon, St. Luke vii. 44, neglect 
ver. 39, ' within himself.' Well-bred, quiet con- 
tempt. His people, too, may be called to suffer 
this in His service. Through misunderstanding, 
Psalms lxix. 20, St. Matthew xii. 46, Isaiah lix. 
16. The loneliness and suffering of not being 
understood are often great. (But do not let us 
invent it, pose as martyrs through our own dis- 
agreeableness, want of tact, selfishness. Christ our 
Lord has no possible fellowship with that except 
to cure it.) Yet sometimes His followers, as their 
Master, are truly misunderstood. 

" Through necessities, St. Matthew viii. 20 ; 
St. Paul also, 2 Cor. xii. 10 and vi. 4. Christ 
knew the rasp that privations and want are apt 
to bring, but weary and hungry, yet gentle and 
helpful, He sat beside the well, St. John iv. 

" Through bodily physical pain. Being wearied, 
St. John iv. 6. The story of the cross, that terrible 
night of physical pain, the scourging, the thorns; 
not the deeper suffering of the atonement, only Christ 
Himself could know that. 

" Through sympathy. St. Mark vii. 34, St. 
John xi. 35-38, St. Luke vii. 13. 

The fellowship of His sufferings in soul seeking 



WORK IN GENERAL 215 

and winning ; not soul-saving that Christ alone can 
do, St. Luke xiii. 34, xix. 41. The yearning love 
that suffers and that acts. Christ proved this by 
His incarnation, — think what He left and what 
He came to. By His deeds — sufferings while cast- 
ing out devils — ' The travail of His soul,' Isaiah liii. 
11. Do we know this ? 

"St. Matthew xi. 12, The violent or those 
in earnest (red hot for self and others). Christ, 
in St. Luke, is represented as seeking diligently. 
The highest and truest work always means a 
giving out of ourselves and suffering. But ' By 
reason of the travail of His soul He shall be satis- 
fied,' Var. Bible. It is enough for the disciple 
that he be as his Master, the servant as his lord, 
St. Matt. x. 25. So let us run with patience 
remembering the joy, Heb. xii. 1-2." 

A change was made in the plan of the Woman's 
Guild Conference in 1910, and instead of one large 
Conference, several smaller local ones were held 
in different centres, lasting for only one day. The 
Conference held at Inverness was a most success- 
ful and helpful one, both the weather and the 
Hospitality Committee doing their best to make 
it a pleasant and refreshing time to those who 
had gathered in their beautiful town. 

Miss Maxwell presided at the devotional meeting 
in the morning, and spoke earnestly on the need 
and value of prayer. " In the first days of early 
youth," she said, " it was often felt, ' If death 
should come, how sorry I should be that I had 
done so little,' but as life went on, we often felt 
even more, ' If death should come, how sorry 



216 ALICE MAXWELL 

I should be that I had prayed so little.' Speaking 
in a human sense, God in His weakest is stronger 
than our strongest. Mere striving without prayer 
is a futile wasting of effort ; although it is neces- 
sary for us to put forth our very best efforts, for 
we owe that to our dear Master. But in work 
without prayer something is always lacking. 

" A story showing the power of prayer was told 
me by a friend who did much work among soldiers. 
One man, who had been a terrible drunkard, and 
had been doing his best for some time with success 
to keep straight, was in the Soldiers' Home one 
evening when the terrible craving came on him, and 
he was determined to gratify it. The lady knew it 
was useless to try and keep him in, but she made up 
her mind to pray earnestly for him. Just after 
the man had left he suddenly turned and went back 
to the Home again, and entering the room, said 
imploringly to the lady : ' Oh ! miss, you won't 
pray for me, will you ? ' Well he knew that prayer 
had power, and dreaded at that moment lest it 
should keep him from gratifying the craving that 
assailed him so strongly." 

She closed with an earnest appeal to Guild 
members to use this wonderful God-given power 
of prayer more fully. 

The great World Missionary Conference was held 
in Edinburgh during the summer. Miss Maxwell 
was deeply interested in that most wonderful 
gathering, and attended as many of the meetings 
as possible, though any extra exertion told heavily 
on her at that time. The Deaconess House was 
thrown open to those attending it. Two ladies 



WORK IN GENERAL 217 

from Canada took advantage of its hospitality, 
and the grateful letters of appreciation, written 
after their return home, showed how much they had 
valued the kindly welcome given, and the oppor- 
tunity they had had of seeing the working of 
the Scottish Deaconess Institution in this intimate 
way. 

But the burden of weak health was increasing, 
and greatly as she loved her work, Miss Maxwell 
felt it was impossible for her to carry it on longer. 
At the earnest request of the Committee she had 
gone on with it through those last years, but now 
eye trouble, the beginning of which she had felt 
even when in the Canary Islands thirteen years 
before, had developed into the more severe type of 
glaucoma, and the doctors said they could not 
answer for her sight unless she gave up her work 
altogether and went through an operation on her 
eyes as soon as possible. She sent in her resignation 
at the end of that year, but was persuaded to stay 
on till the spring that the Committee might not be 
hurried in their choice of a successor. 

At the Woman's Guild Conference held at 
Dundee in 1911 she gave in her last report as Head 
of the Deaconess House and Mission, and with 
great sorrow her fellow-Guildswomen heard of her 
decision to give up her post. Her account of the 
good work carried on and her reminder of the 
great boon that the gifts of clothes, new and old, 
flowers, and country produce were to the Mission 
and also to the Hospital, met with a warm response. 
Once a present of twenty-four dozen eggs had been 
sent from a country branch, and she told of the 



218 ALICE MAXWELL 

pleasure they had given in many of the poverty- 
tried homes of the Pleasance. 

A very warm resolution was unanimously passed at 
the Conference expressing grateful recognition of the 
valuable services Miss Maxwell had rendered as Head 
of the Deaconess House for the last twenty-three 
years, and the hope that, though she was retiring on 
account of failing health, she might still have many 
years of service within the Guild, and in connection 
with the work to which she had devoted her life. 

She was deeply touched with the warmth of love 
shown to her, and assured her fellow-workers that, 
though she had been obliged to resign her work as 
Head of the Deaconess House, she had not left the 
Guild, but hoped to be in it all her life, and still able 
to work for it, though it would be in a different way. 

The following month Miss Mary Lamond, D.C.S., 
who had worked with Miss Maxwell in the Deaconess 
House, and for many years had acted as Secretary 
of the Guild, was asked to take the post of Super- 
intendent of the Deaconess House. She was well 
known in all the parishes of the Church for her wise 
and kind helpfulness in assisting to form Branches 
of the Guild, and for the practical and inspiring 
addresses she had so often given. 

The Committee felt the work would be carried 
on by her with earnestness and efficiency, and it 
was a great satisfaction to Miss Maxwell to know 
that an old co-worker had agreed to take her place. 
The doctors had become even more insistent, and 
at the end of May she handed over the charge of 
the Deaconess House, and felt that she could at 
last take the rest that was so urgently needed. 



LAST YEARS 



219 



Bless'd be the everlasting God, 

The Father of our Lord ; 
Be His abounding mercy prais'd, 

His majesty ador'd. 
When from the dead He rais'd His Son 

And call'd Him to the sky, 
He gave our souls a lively hope 

That they should never die. 

To an inheritance divine 

He taught our hearts to rise ; 
'Tis uncorrupted, undefll'd, 

Unfading in the skies. 
Saints by the pow'r of God are kept 

Till the salvation come : 
We walk by faith as strangers here ; 

But Christ shall call us Home. 



220 



CHAPTER XI 

LAST YEARS 

After leaving the Deaconess House, Miss Maxwell 
went at once into a nursing home for the operation 
on her eye, and found that the other eye had also 
been affected. The operation on both eyes was as 
successful as possible, and her patience and calm- 
ness did much to help her recovery ; but though the 
results may be arrested, no cure has yet been found 
for glaucoma. In Miss Maxwell's case it had been 
brought on by overwork and strain, but she did 
not grudge the cost in the service of the Master 
she loved and trusted. She was content with her 
Heavenly Father's will, and looked round to see 
where His next work, even though it were sown 
in weakness, for her would be. Once, sitting with 
a friend in the old George Square Gardens, and 
looking back on life and its work, she said : "I 
think mine has been a very happy life." It had 
been a life very full of toil and strain, and some- 
times keenly felt misunderstanding, but a life conse- 
crated to God, and made strong and joyful with 
the gladness of His Presence. 

An instance of her strong, uncomplaining forti- 
221 



222 ALICE MAXWELL 

tude and thoughtfulness for others occurred soon 
after she went into the nursing home. After the 
operation the pain in her eye was intense, but she 
had often felt it to a minor extent, and thought it 
was one of those things that were to be patiently 
endured. The bell was beside her and the night 
nurse ready to come at any moment, but she did 
not wish to give unnecessary trouble to those who, 
she felt, might be overburdened already, and 
waited patiently till her turn came round. Then 
deeply grieved at the pain that had been suffered 
so bravely, but unnecessarily, the nurse applied 
remedies which quickly soothed and relieved it. 

Her thoughts even then were full of her district 
people, and of the yearning desire to bring them 
home to God. The darkness and degradation of 
the Pleasance lay heavily on her heart. A dream 
which came to her one night seemed like a pledge 
and promise of happier times, and was a joy to her. 
She did not speak of it to many. It seemed too 
sacred, but she thought she saw God's angels in the 
Pleasance, and as they worked she asked them why 
they were there, and they told her they had come 
to cleanse it from its vileness and its sin. If God's 
angels were there she felt she might leave it to them 
and to their Master. 

To a friend she wrote later on from the country : 
" Your birthday to-morrow, so these flowers go to 
take my loving wishes. May your life ever grow 
richer in those high and holy things which bring 
the real, deep peace and joy into one's daily life, 
making one able to live above all the wee criss- 
crosses and sixes and sevens that must come and 




CIIARTERIS MEMORIAL CHURCH ANO MISSION HALL. 

To face jiai/e 223. 



LAST YEARS 223 

do give such tiring little aches. You have these 

even in such good places as , but do you know 

those lines which I like ? 

Teach me Thy self ! for, Father, Thou hast patience 
' Line upon line ' Thy precepts to convey ; 
And Thou wilt wait that I may grasp Thy meaning 
Nor turn in weariness from me away. 

and with that Psalm cvii. 43 — ' Whoso is wise and 
will observe these things, even they shall understand 
the loving kindness of the Lord.' " 

Her wish for the full extension of St. Ninian's 
Mission was realised that year. It had been decided 
that the Church so greatly desired by Dr. Charteris 
to complete the equipment of the Mission as a 
training centre for workers intending to devote 
their lives to the service of the Church, and to 
provide church accommodation for the people of 
a densely crowded district, would be a fitting 
memorial to one who had done such splendid 
service in the organisation of Women's Work and 
on the Life and Work Committee. Most of the 
money needed had been subscribed, and on the 
1st of June 1911, during the sitting of the Assembly, 
the foundation-stone of the beautiful little Church 
was laid by the Lord High Commissioner, Lord 
Glenconner, and the words of dedication spoken : 
" In the faith of Jesus Christ, in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 
we lay this stone. In this place may the true 
faith flourish, the fear of God and the love of the 
brethren. Here may the voice of Prayer continu- 
ally be heard, the voice of rejoicing and salvation, 



224 ALICE MAXWELL 

and of praise to Thy glorious and holy Name, oh 
God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 

It was a great pleasure to all her friends that 
Mrs. Charteris, though in feeble health, was able 
to be present at the bright dedication service of 
prayer and praise. Miss Maxwell could not join 
in it in person as the operation on her eyes still 
kept her in the nursing home, but in spirit she was 
there rejoicing with her fellow-workers in their 

joy. 

After her long years of devoted service many 
felt they would like to offer her some tangible 
proof of their love and appreciation. At a meeting 
of Deaconesses, members of committee, and fellow- 
workers, held in the Deaconess House in June, she 
was presented with a beautiful silver tea-service, 
with the following words inscribed on the hot- 
water kettle : " Presented with silver tea-service 
to Miss A. M. Maxwell, Deaconess of the Church of 
Scotland, by sister-Deaconesses and other fellow- 
workers on her retirement from the position of 
Honorary Superintendent of the Deaconess House 
after twenty -three years of devoted service. 
June 1911." 

Dr. Robertson of Coltness made the presenta- 
tion, and in warm terms spoke of his long friendship 
with Miss Maxwell, and of the devotion and loyalty 
with which she had served the Church in many 
ways, but especially as the first Superintendent 
of the Deaconess House. She was deeply touched 
both by his words and the beautiful token of 
remembrance from her friends, and in very grateful 
terms thanked them for their lovely present. 



LAST YEARS 225 

" She had always thought," she said, " of her 
opportunity of service at the Deaconess House as 
a most precious gift from God, and still looked 
forward to being able to work for the Church as a 
Deaconess." Letter-writing had become a great 
difficulty owing to her weak eyesight, but as some 
who had contributed could not come to the pre- 
sentation, Miss Maxwell wrote the following letter 
which was lithographed and sent to all the kind 
donors : 

" My dear Friends — How am I to thank you 
for the lovely gift which was presented to me last 
Tuesday? The tea-kettle is so lovely, and the 
teapot, in addition to its beauty, is also the very 
shape that makes the best of tea — in fact the whole 
gift is really beautiful, and most heartily do I 
thank you all for it. 

" When having it presented I was told that it 
was a token of appreciation ; while I believe 
service such as ours should rather call, not for the 
praise of man, but for a song of thankful praise 
in our own hearts for the God-given honour and 
privilege of serving, yet I assure you that I am 
very grateful for the kind eyes that so see me and 
the generous hearts that so think of what I have 
tried to do. 

" Well do I remember how fearful I was of 
undertaking it ; and, looking back, I know I have 
only been able to do it by God's grace and by 
the help of our dear founder, Dr. Charteris, Dr. 
Robertson, and the many, many sympathetic 
friends with whom God surrounded me when I 



226 ALICE MAXWELL 

very prayerfully responded to His call twenty- 
three years ago. 

" The brown handles of the kettle and teapot 
come to me as a glad symbol of the hope I have 
still to serve in the Church of my Fathers as a 
brown Deaconess, though obliged to resign my 
charge of the Deaconess House. — I remain, yours 

very sincerely, 

"A. M. Maxwell, Deaconess." 

George Square and its precincts had become 
very dear to her during those twenty-three years 
of work, and after leaving the Deaconess House 
she took rooms for a short time in Buccleuch Place, 
and later on moved into a flat in George Square. 

She hoped still to be able, after some months of 
complete rest, to take an occasional meeting and 
be able to fill up gaps for other workers. One 
autumn she took charge of the St. Ninian's Mission 
District while the Deaconess household were absent 
on holiday. She was ever ready to welcome those 
who wished for a quiet helpful talk with her, though 
sometimes the strain on her strength was very 
great. Her patient fortitude and loving gentle- 
ness attracted many, and young people loved to 
pour out their troubles to her and always found 
her wise and loving sympathy ready for them. 

One young wife, who, though no relation, 
always spoke of her as " Aunt Alice," wrote : 

" Darling Aunt Alice — Somehow I seem to 
have let far too long a time elapse without writing 
to you. I think the reason is that you are one of 
the people I always want to write sheets to and 



LAST YEARS 227 

put off doing so till I have the time — and that 
time never comes ! The babies are all three in 
bed, and though it is nearly 10 o'clock I mean 
to write you, anyway, a line before going there 
myself. Even if I don't write I am always think- 
ing of you and wondering how you are." 

And another writes : " Just a line to say how 
glad I am to hear that you are feeling better. My 
thoughts are with you, and you are alwavs in my 
love. . . ." 

In 1912 she attended the local Woman's Guild 
Conference at Castle-Douglas, and gave her last 
beautiful address on the power and inspiration 
that true " Hope " can bring. She did not know 
how near she was herself to that " Far better " of 
which she spoke. 

It was difficult for an active mind like hers to 
give up almost entirely what had been her constant 
thought for so many years, but gradually she found 
that her failing eyesight and heart weakness made 
the small amount of outside work she had hoped to 
be able to undertake impossible, and she bowed in 
loving obedience to the will of God. 

Much of those last years had to be spent in bed 
or on a sofa, but sometimes in the warm summer 
days of 1913-14 she was able to take a drive and 
sit in the garden, where she loved to hear and see 
the children playing round her. 

Miss Sophie Lamond, D.C.S., who had been her 
assistant in the Deaconess House for many years, 
came to share her home with her when she went 
to the flat in George Square. Miss S. Lamond 



228 ALICE MAXWELL 

still had charge of the St. Ninian's Mission 
District. The accounts she brought back with 
her of the work going on there were a constant 
interest to Miss Maxwell, and her loving com- 
panionship and never-failing devotion did much to 
brighten those long days of weakness and often of 
suffering. 

In the spring of 1914 she bought the main-door 
flat of 42 George Square, as it was the size of 
house she wished and seemed capable of being 
made suitable for her requirements in every way. 
Though many of the arrangements had to be 
made from her sick-bed, she set to work with her 
usual energy and interest; and with Miss Sophie 
Lamond's most efficient aid the furniture required 
was soon procured and the needed alterations 
carried out. She was not able to inspect the house 
herself for some time, but she had a power of 
imagination, and the rooms were pictured in her 
mind's eye, and the place of nearly every piece of 
furniture arranged before she had been inside the 
house. It was a great interest to her through 
the early spring months, and when she and Miss 
Lamond moved into their bright, comfortable little 
home in May, those who loved her trusted it might 
prove a peaceful resting-place to her for many 
years. Her own large bedroom at the back of the 
house caught every gleam of sunshine. It was 
always kept in the most beautiful order, with few 
signs of sickness in it, and bright with flowers sent 
by many friends. 

She stood the move well, and through the 
summer seemed to be gaining strength; a very 



LAST YEARS 229 

happy time was spent in July when her sister, 
Mrs. Stewart, came to stay a month with her in 
her new home. 

But by August a worse turn came on, and in 
spite of loving nursing and every care she was 
never able to leave her room again, though she 
lingered on bright and uncomplaining, but suffer- 
ing, for six months. 

The two nephews constantly looked in during 
those months from their rough war billets, glad of 
the comfortable meal and hot bath and warm 
welcome that were always ready for them, and 
one of her sisters was always with her. Miss S. 
Lamond could not of course neglect her work in 
the district, but her tender love and devotion 
never failed. The sickroom was a bright place ; 
the sunshine seemed bent on flooding it even 
when it could not be found elsewhere, and the 
sweet patient look on the invalid's face, and the 
bright smile with which she greeted all who came 
to see her, showed that her heart had found its 
rest and peace beyond earth's bounds. 

Her thoughts were constantly with others, 
entering into their joy even in her own weariness. 
" I love to hear those children," she once said of 
some happy bairns who were rushing in rampant 
spirits about the flat above her ; " they sound as 
if they were having such a jolly time with their 
father." By December the painful breathlessness 
had become much worse, and her nights were very 
sleepless and full of suffering. Oxygen, which had 
given relief at first, had lost its power, but still 
loving plans were made for others, and many little 



230 ALICE MAXWELL 

Christmas gifts purchased and sent with Miss 
Sophie Lamond's help. The children of the Home 
House were still in her heart, and almost uncon- 
sciously she spoke of the Christmas tea she wished 
to give them. 

Once, shortly before the end, she seemed to 
wish to join again in the supper of her Lord, and 
as she turned over the pages of the Hymnary she 
stopped at the hymn beginning " Jerusalem, my 
happy home," but weakness and unconsciousness 
again came on and it was not possible. She was 
to drink that fruit of the vine new with her Saviour 
in the Kingdom of His Father. 

But at length the call came, and on the evening 
of Friday, the 5th of February 1915, very gently 
she passed away to open her eyes in the painless 
peace and joy of the Father's Home and hear His 
voice saying to her, " Well done, good and faithful 
servant." 

The funeral service was held in the Charteris 
Memorial Church among the homes where so much 
of her life's work had been carried on, and the 
people gathered round with loving, sorrowing 
hearts. The twenty- third Psalm was sung to her 
favourite tune by the Pleasance choir, and very 
sweetly and tenderly the last lines seemed to linger 
on — 

And in God's house for evermore 
My dwelling-place shall be. 

She was laid to rest in the Dean Cemetery, and 
the words which speak the perfect end of every life 
of true love and faithful toil are written over her, 



LAST YEARS 231 

" His servants shall serve Him and they shall see 
His face." 

When with bowed heads 
And silent streaming tears, 
With mingled hopes and fears, 
To earth we yield our dead ; 
The Saints with clearer vision 
Do cry in glad accord, 
A soul released from prison 

Is risen, is risen, 
Is risen to the glory of the Lord. 

John Oxenham. 



POSSIBILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 
OF THE GUILD 



233 



He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, 
and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep 
the way of the tree of life. — Gen. iii. 24. 



In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, 
was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of 
fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves 
of the tree were for the healing of the nations. — Rev. 
xxii. 2. 



Ten thousand times ten thousand, 
In sparkling raiment bright, 
The armies of the ransomed saints 
Throng up the steeps of light ; 
'Tis finished, all is finished, 

Their fight with death and sin ; 
Fling open wide the golden gates, 
And let the victors in. 



Even so, come, Lord Jesus. — Rev. xxii. 20. 



234 



CHAPTER XII 

POSSIBILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GUILD 

Many tributes to the value of the life so nobly 
spent were sent to Miss Maxwell's relations from 
far and near. 

An old resident at the Deaconess House wrote 
from Canada : " To-day as I opened my copy of 
Life and Work my eyes fell upon her well-known 
photo, and a thrill of memory ran through me as I 
looked back to those training days in the Deaconess 
House twenty years ago. 

" Miss Maxwell has always seemed to me such 
a true example of an honourable Lady. She re- 
minded me of the elect Lady in her fine courtesy, 
her sense of honour as applied to the details of 
daily life, her ready generosity, her absolute 
faithfulness to her Church. Her work must ever 
remain a fragrant memory with those who were 
trained under her. Her capacity for taking pains 
over the smallest detail influenced us. She took 
endless trouble in training her students, not always 
sparing our feelings in her desire to make of us the 
very best, but always appreciative, beautifully so 
at times, of any good efforts or work that appealed 
to her, and keen to mark improvement in those she 

235 



286 ALICE MAXWELL 

trained. Miss Maxwell took much personal super- 
vision and trouble with her students, their methods, 
indeed all that concerned their future work. The 
district in the Pleasance was always to her a big 
responsibility. What kindly loving help she gave 
to all, never sparing her time nor her strength if 
she could bring help or comfort even to the most 
undeserving ! She was one to whom one and all 
felt they might turn in times of sorrow, and she 
never failed them. Scotland contains one friend 
less because our friend and Superintendent has 
gone to much-needed rest and higher service. We 
to-day are poorer, but she is richer." 

In the Woman's Guild Supplement of March 
1915 these words tell of the deep love of her fellow- 
workers : " She leaves a blank in the ranks of 
valued workers which can never be filled. Those 
who knew her best loved her most. Among the 
slums of Edinburgh she has gone in and out, bring- 
ing help and succour. Her gentle, calm, Madonna- 
like face was known as that of a friend in many 
a humble home ; her gifts to lighten the load of 
sickness, sorrow, and poverty were often known 
only to those who benefited by them and to the 
Divine Master in whose footprints she trod. Miss 
Maxwell has trained many a worker and left her 
imprint on many a soul. For such lives of devotion 
God be praised." 

And yet another writes : " We, her sister 
Deaconesses, feel that the first chapter in the 
History of the Diaconate of the Church of Scot- 
land is finished. It remains for us to write a 
second that will be worthy of its noble beginning." 



POSSIBILITIES OF THE GUILD 237 

That chapter is being written now, and oppor- 
tunities such as never stood before the Diaconate 
and Guild Members of the Church of Scotland are 
opening out to them at the present time. Women 
have shown their power and capabilities in ways 
that were never thought of in former days, and 
won the gratitude of King and Country. In the 
fierce struggle they have not flinched, but now 
peace has been re-established and much of the 
special work that called out their energy and self- 
sacrifice is no longer necessary. 

Is that energy and devotion to be allowed to 
wither ? Christ and His Church are calling, and 
His world is needing all the strength and love 
of all its workers. Not for destruction, however 
necessary that may be at times, God's voice pleads 
with us, but for the nobler work of building up 
and winning back the world for Christ its King. 

The life of our Guilds is making a new start, 
and work is ready and waiting for every member 
willing to face the fight. But it is only in that same 
spirit of splendid self-sacrifice and loving devotion 
to a high ideal that the work can be worthily done. 
The work of war days was often in itself dull and 
monotonous, but the goal made the toil beautiful 
and love triumphed over its weariness. The best 
and truest work was not done by those who strove 
for excitement and earthly applause, but often 
by the unknown toil, always by the unselfish 
efforts, of those who, through patient continuance 
in well-doing, sought the glory of God and the 
truest well-being of their fellow -men. They knew 
there might be dark days ahead, but they knew 



238 ALICE MAXWELL 

•with an even deeper certainty that God was on 
the throne, and though they could not tell how or 
when, the right must triumph, and falsehood and 
oppression be overcome. 

Now the sword has been laid down, and though 
with thankful hearts we praise God for the peace 
that has been signed, the call to fight the greater 
battle against selfishness and impurity, against 
frivolity and indifference, seems louder than ever. 
The times and seasons for the working out of His 
own great plans of love and mercy are safe in the 
hands of the Almighty and All-loving Heavenly 
Father, but He still deigns to need His children as 
fellow-workers with Him. 

The Guild " is now only at the beginning of the 
magnificent service it is going to render in times 
to come " were words spoken at the Conference, 
held the year after the death of its noble founder, 
by Dr. Wallace Williamson, as he thought of its 
splendid opportunities, and so of its great responsi- 
bilities. 

How are they to be met as we who love our 
God, His world, our country, and our Guild long 
that they should be ? None can take our indivi- 
dual responsibility from us, no earthly power can 
prevent even His called and chosen ones from 
shaming their Lord by their callousness and un- 
belief, unless a higher power than their own uphold 
them. 

"The evening and the morning were the first 
day " we read in the first chapter of Genesis, not 
the bright day fading away into gloomy darkness, 
but the dim shadows of the night scattering before 



POSSIBILITIES OF THE GUILD 239 

the brightness of God's daylight. We cannot tell. 
It may be that gradually through the blessed 
influences of His Spirit the world may be brought 
back to God; but, to very many who prayerfully 
study His word, it seems as if the old sequence 
were to be followed and dark, murky midnight 
were coming before the glorious dawn, the fiercest 
struggle before the endless triumph of Christ and 
His redeemed. Daniel spoke of times of trouble 
that were coming to his nation when evil would 
seem victorious, and that which had no regard for 
God or man should exalt itself against God and 
prosper, when the rulers of this world should speak 
lies at one table and have power over the treasures 
of gold and silver, and a time of trouble come such 
as never was since there was a nation. Then the 
brightness of His coming, the everlasting glory of 
His Dominion when the Kingdoms of this world 
shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of 
His Christ, and Death itself be swallowed up in 
victory. 

The old prophet knew how to prepare his people 
for that time of sifting when he said, " The people 
that do know their God shall be strong and shall 
do exploits." Must it not be the strength of our 
Guild workers too to " know " their God ? To 
know both in bright and in dark days something 
of the exceeding greatness of His power to carry 
out His own perfect plan, of His love to watch 
over His children, and His grace to sanctify and 
strengthen them. They that know their God shall 
be strong, for none can doubt Him who know 
even a little of the true greatness of His love; 



240 ALICE MAXWELL 

none can wish for any other service who know the 
sweetness of His yoke, the rest of His guidance. 
" Magnificent service " is waiting for Guild workers 
to-day in our Church, in our land, in the world 
Christ died to redeem. May many join its ranks, 
not in name only, but in true self-surrender and 
noble purpose ! Of none may the Angel of the 
Lord be constrained to say as he said of Meroz, 
" Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants 
thereof, because they came not to the help of the 
Lord, the help of the Lord against the mighty." 

May our Guild members be found when the 
Heavenly Master calls, just where their loving 
Lord decides, in the quiet places of the earth doing 
exploits, the greatness of which only God can 
measure and His judgement day will reveal, or hold- 
ing high His standard amid the crowded ways and 
ceaseless goings of this restless world. 

And having shared His cross they shall also 
share His crown. 



APPENDICES 



241 



APPENDIX A 

(See p. 8) 

of Whitesyde who was barbarously shot to 

— This Monument shall tell posterity 

pq That blessed Bell of Whitesyde here doth ly 

a Who at command of bloody Lag was shot 

,o A Mrter strange which should not be forgot a 

M Douglas of Merton did him quarters give jg 

>> Yet cruel Lag would not let him survive S 1 

<u This Martyre sought some time to recomed 5' 

£* His soul to God befor his doyes did end Jj. 

The Tyrant said what devl ye've pray'd enough ™ 

g This long seven yeare on mountains and in cleugh g» 

2 So instantly caus's him with other four £^ 

o Be shot to death upon Kinconel moor 

a So this did end the lives of these deare saints 

For there adherence to the covenants. 

'8r,>j jo uosiaijQ jo puBuiuioo oq^ ye puB[8uox J° 



243 



APPENDIX B 

(See p. 87) 

Address given by Miss Maxwell on Prayer as 
it has to do with the christian worker, 
and with her vlsiting and meetings. 

A wide thought, for through it comes the power for 
every worker, and without it, or even with a bare 
measure of it, both the visiting and the meetings must 
fall very far short of what God means them to be. It 
helps us to grasp the power and possibilities that lie 
within our reach if we remember what prayer has 
worked in Bible times and in our own lives. 

Prayer overcame a tyrant. — Ex. ii. 23. 

Prayer overcame nature. — Ex. xiv. 10-22. 

Prayer overcame an Army. — Ex. xvii. 10 and 11. 

Hezekiah with prayer overcame the Host of Assyria. 
— Isaiah xxxvii. 14. 

Momentary prayers of Nehemiah and of St. Peter. 
Nehemiah's prayer worked wonders for a whole people. 
St. Peter's prayer (Lord save me) saved his life. 
Again, with Peter in prison (Acts xii.), prayer caused 
the chains to fall off him, men were held in deep sleep, 
the iron gate was opened. 

For ourselves, prayer gains for us : 
Life in death, 
Wisdom in our foolishness, 
244 



APPENDIX B 245 

Light in our perplexity, 

Strength to overcome in spite of our weakness, 
Confidence (God-given, not self-confidence) in spite 
of our nervousness. 

Prayer as a Preparation for Ourselves 

Much that hinders our work must be taken away. 
Each of us knows her own hindrances, and our God 
knows them still better. We need much of His work 
in us before we can do His work for others. 

We need to be freed from all vanity, or the thoughts 
of self-confidence, that lead us to expect anything 
from our own powers of mind or body. 

From all self-consciousness and nervousness that 
makes us too timid to do what God puts before us. 
Divine strength can be made perfect in human weak- 
ness. Let us ask that our whole minds be taken 
up with the great things we speak about and those to 
whom we say them. 

From all faithlessness; for it is not we, but God 
working through us. Our way is so often to ask 
without expecting ; but God's way is " Ask and ye 
shall receive." Always, of course, with the under- 
standing that the work we would do is brought about 
and carried on according to His will. It can never 
be " Ask and ye shall receive " when we ask contrary 
to God's will, either for ourselves or for others. 

Then two things to pray for — that we may be 
imbued with a yearning love for souls, and with the 
certainty that salvation can reach all; none too far 
down to be lifted up by the mercy of the God who 
sends us as His messengers. 

We need prayer, not only as a preparation for our- 
selves, but as a preparation for meeting with others 
in our visiting and in our Meetings. 



246 ALICE MAXWELL 

We should remember in prayer those we are going 
to see — their surroundings, temptations, cares, needs, 
sorrows, joys — any special thing we have to say, to 
advise about, or to urge upon some to give up because 
it is wrong. God's true messengers must not only 
give beautiful tidings of goodwill and peace but, 
sometimes, a message of judgement. How can we dare 
to take that to our fellow-sinners, whose wrong-doing 
has at times more excuse than our so-called small sins, 
unless we have held communion with God and the 
message has been laid upon us by Him ? Then let 
us go in His strength because we are bound to do as 
He bids. I think the willing messenger of wrath, if 
such be possible, has need to look to herself and to 
find out wherein lies the willingness. Is it a lurking 
desire to prove our power and influence over others ? 
A bit of temper because we have been put about by 
their wrong-doing ? Is it a want of realising the 
hatefulness of sin and the awfulness of God's wrath ? 
There is only one right way, because God tells us ; so 
let us pray very humbly that we may be kept in the 
right spirit to give the message and they to receive it. 

Prayer in regard to Visiting 

Momentary prayer at the door. I have heard of a 
young princess who always prayed before she opened 
the drawing-room door that she might give a blessing 
and receive a blessing before she came out. Each 
door, for our people must not be slumped either in 
thought or in prayer. They are individuals before 
God, and He will save them as such; for every soul 
has its own cry of need more or less known to them- 
selves, but all open to God. 

It is only through prayer and God's answering help 



APPENDIX B 247 

that it is possible for us in our ignorance to meet the 
particular need of each soul and help as we would help. 

Prayer must not be left outside the door. We may 
find prayer with some one inside helpful; but don't 
let us go out visiting with our minds made up that 
we are the good people going down to make the bad 
people good like ourselves and to bring them up to 
our fixed standard of what is right. Rather let us 
go as those who, having realised God's standard to 
be far beyond anything we ourselves have reached, 
and owning our own wrong-doing in our hearts to God, 
persuade them as fellow-strivers against the wrong, 
and as fellow-seekers for strength to overcome. There 
are those in poor homes striving against sin and 
seeking for the needed strength, as we are ourselves. 
Prayer with them brings great blessing and mutual 
understanding. 

But it cannot always be prayer with others ; it 
may sometimes be prayer for others, and here I think 
a great difficulty comes in. There is the fear of some 
thinking it a beautiful thing but a kind of superstitious 
charm. Where two spirits join together in prayer it 
can never be a meaningless charm to either ; but this 
is more likely to be the case when it is only a form 
with one. It does not seem to me that written 
prayers are suitable for visiting, for the great safe- 
guard against this feeling is the talk with those visited 
and finding out what is nearest their hearts just at 
that time — the husband, the child, the sickness, the 
trouble, the joy, the want of work, the longing desire, 
even though it be for a temporal thing. To bring that 
to God for them will make prayer a reality, not merely 
a charm or a vague form. Every man and woman 
has a daily life that is very real, terribly real to those 
poor people, with its want and sin and misery staring 



248 ALICE MAXWELL 

them in the face. Let us try to make prayer a reality 
to them through that daily life, and so God Himself 
will become a Reality, as they grasp the idea that 
He hears and knows and cares about this everyday 
life of theirs. In time they may be among those we 
can pray with, not only for, as they themselves learn 
to bring their daily life in prayer to God. 

There may be prayer over some one. That seems 
almost too solemn to speak of, and yet, at times, it 
may be the only thing possible. As the angry, bitter, 
resentful words against God, or the words of stolid 
determination to go on and sin, fall from their lips it 
may be that God would have us call down His re- 
straining and turning mercy to save them — not often, 
I think, for God's things are too holy to force on 
those who trample them under their feet. Yet often 
that violent determination to turn their backs on God 
and go on in sin is because they already feel His 
drawing power and are afraid of giving in. How 
blessed if the words of prayer should be the means of 
turning them from their wrong-doing ! It has only 
come to me once or twice, and I thought it let one 
understand just a very little what the suffering of 
Christ must have been as He stood over those poor 
people possessed with devils, fiercely fighting the good, 
before they were obliged to give in. 

Prayer with the Sick 

I should like to speak of one or two simple rules. 
Let prayer be very short — for sick people are often 
weary with pain and too tired to listen long. 

Very simple — for minds are clouded over with 
bodily weakness. 

Very definite — for often they are in sore distress and 
need God's comfort. 



APPENDIX B 249 

Very clear in voice — so that there may be no need- 
less strain in following; yet very soft, so as not to jar. 

" Make her very patient and brave and good," with 
only a few words added, was a prayer at my sick-bed 
by one who understood prayer ; and I have often gone 
back to that time and, having learnt the comfort and 
help of these things being asked for — simply, shortly, 
and gently — have tried to help others as I was helped. 

If the sick person, as far as we can tell, does not 
know God, let us ask that they may know Him then, 
for that is the only stay and comfort ; but do not let 
us use prayer as a means of preaching them a sermon. 
The greater number will probably not attempt to 
follow, close their eyes and go half asleep till we have 
done ; the few who do try to follow will probably be 
too tired at the end with the effort of keeping up their 
attention to leave much room for the power of impres- 
sion. A short prayer and a verse after it is best, for 
God's word will come home when ours pass over their 
heads and leave no impression. 

Momentary prayer, not only at the doors, but 
inside too. How are we to stop that bit of gossip, or 
the fretful murmuring that has some reason in it, or 
the constant begging that must not be and yet comes 
from desperate want, though they do bring it on them- 
selves with drinking and other sins ? How is this to 
be met ? With a kindly sympathy, wise and firm, 
that can be, indeed must be, received from God. One 
moment of prayer in our hearts before we speak will 
save many blunders. 

But perhaps the difficulties are what perplex us 
most; for there are some who wish to avoid prayer, 
and some are too eager for it. It has been asked some- 
times, Is it a rule to pray in every house each time 
we visit there ? I think the visitor should be known 



250 ALICE MAXWELL 

as one who prays : as one who speaks often to her 
Father in Heaven. But it may not be possible at 
every visit to engage in prayer. Rather let us go in 
the spirit of prayer, which is the heart open towards 
God, and so be always ready when the opportunity 
comes. Very often it is our failure to use the 
opportunity, not the circumstances of the house 
visited. Still let us show that religion is a reasonable, 
sympathetic thing, that does not ignore the mother's 
care for the ailing, fretful child in her arms, or the 
household washing, or the preparation of the meals 
for husband or child. If they are to learn of God 
through our religion, let us strive to represent the true 
God in all His holy, reasonable, sympathetic goodness 
and kindness. Tact, sympathy, and putting ourselves 
in the place of others, will help to guide us about 
prayer. 

This is not quite easy ; but perhaps another difficulty 
is comparatively greater. There are some who are not 
unwilling but over-willing, from mistaken motives and 
ideas. Sometimes it may be best to speak with them, 
and then, if there is another room, ask them to kneel 
down and pray for themselves, while we go and see 
the children, or to say that we will go home and 
pray for them while they kneel there and pray for 
themselves, or both to kneel down in silent prayer, 
and then to come away immediately after, so that any 
impression that has been made may not be lost. Any- 
thing to make them realise there is no human go- 
between, but that they themselves stand in God's 
presence and must not pray by proxy. How quiet 
and solemn that feeling makes both them and us. 

So it may well be : Prayer before we start, Prayer 
before we enter any home, Prayer in the home, and 
not less Prayer when we return to our own homes, that 



APPENDIX B 251 

God will help each of those whom we have visited 
according to their individual need, and that He will 
prevent any harm coming from the unwise or tactless 
or impatient or unsympathetic words and deeds that 
we may have said or done. When it is too late we so 
often see how we might have done so much better. 

Prayer at Meetings 

There is less to say about this, for it is of necessity 
more general and outwardly more by order. It is not 
the individual thing that prayer is in visiting. Still 
it has its helps and hindrances. 

The Voice. — At Mothers' Meetings, and at all meet- 
ings, some are sure to be more or less deaf. So let us 
keep our voices distinct, not letting them die away at 
the end of each petition. Do not let us kneel down 
and bury our faces in our hands if we are leading in 
prayer. If our voice is not clear and distinct it is 
very apt to soothe the poor tired people like a sleeping- 
draught, particularly if the hall is, as it should be, warm 
and cosy. 

Let us remember that they are tired with hard 
work, and not blame them, but rather ourselves, for 
not managing better. 

The Position. — This is often a great difficulty. 
When space and other circumstances allow, do let us 
try to kneel, for that seems so much the right position 
before God ; but very often space makes it impossible 
in hall or kitchen. 

I wish the old custom of standing at prayer had 
not gone out till we had room given us in our churches 
to kneel, for sitting so often turns prayer merely into 
careless gazing round. However, we must take things 
as they are and try to make the best use of them. 



252 ALICE MAXWELL 

At Children's Meetings, or at any other time when 
it is possible, I would always make them stand at 
prayer. But at Kitchen Meetings the old people that 
come might find it hard, so we must be guided by the 
age of those present and be reasonable, but always 
keeping in view the advantage of giving room to kneel 
when it can be done at Meetings for Adults also. 
Standing generally seems to suit children best. Some- 
times I find one can say, " Now shall we shut our eyes 
and speak to God for a little time," and a reverent 
hush seems to come even though we are obliged by 
age or space to remain sitting. 

The Place. — Unless there is some special reason, I 
always like to let prayer follow a hymn or reading or 
speaking. The other day a meeting was begun with 
prayer and it gave me a feeling of being unprepared 
and unexpected. 

Words and Phrases. — These must be according to 
the needs and capabilities of those attending the 
meeting. Very simple, if for little children ; very 
homely for the poor and unlearned, but with 
definite thought and word, not vague meandering 
sentences strung together till we have made a long 
enough prayer. We must try to understand the daily 
lives, circumstances, and manner of conversation of 
those whom we are to lead in prayer, be they either 
rich or poor, and speak to God with them from their 
standpoint. 

The Substance. — In visiting one has rather to go on 
moment by moment as conversation brings out the 
special family circumstances of the time. But at 
Meetings it is different. The subjects of prayer can 
be thought of and gone over beforehand, for it is 
general and collective, not individual. All the cares 
of the mothers for the husbands, sons, daughters, and 



APPENDIX B 253 

little ones; all the temptations that will have to be 
met; all the anxieties of poverty, sickness, and want 
of work in the district where we visit ; the general need 
of greater Holiness and Purity, and the general desire 
to be better and to do better. 

The moment — not longer — of silent prayer after the 
Benediction is a help, and gives time for any special 
impression that has been made to take root. 



APPENDIX C 

(See p. 102) 

Extract from Address given by Dr. Charteris. 

Another and a trivial word on a perhaps dangerous 
theme. St. Paul spoke of woman's head-dress and 
the length of woman's hair ; St. James dealt with 
goodly apparel ; and St. Peter with pearls and costly 
array. Permit me a word on your distinctive dress. 
It is not a good sign of a minister when he is in haste 
to leave his clerical clothes and collars beside his 
pulpit gown, and to go in grey tweeds as a young 
commercial traveller might go to the fountains of 
Versailles or the Sunday cafes in Berlin. Neither is 
it a good sign of a Deaconess to fling off her garb, or 
any part of it, when she is on holiday. She loses a 
great opportunity of witness-bearing. At one time I 
thought little of this, and I turned off with a jest the 
query of the lady who presided over a large Deaconess 
House abroad, when I presented to her one of our 
Deaconesses. Why is there no distinctive garb ? was 
her instantaneous question. I think more of it now 
than I did then. So you and I, when on holiday, have 
to remember that our taking to mufti may disparage 
our right to a uniform at other times. I am not to 
parade Princes Street or the Bois de Boulogne in my 
pulpit gown or my Moderator-buckles ; nor are you 

254 



APPENDIX C 255 

to keep your white cap and apron in the same places, 
or on a Channel steamer. But I think we are bound 
to ask ourselves whether we ought to have no dis- 
tinctive dress whatever. We ministers have a very 
easy time of it. An all-round collar is supposed to be 
all we need to distinguish our calling. It is different, 
of course, with a woman's dress. Still I think that, 
without carrying about all your paraphernalia of 
gown, bonnet, and cloak, you should devise some 
light distinctive garb, or part of a garb, by which 
others would recognise you ; and by which you your- 
selves also would be reminded of your abiding orders 
and commission. I may be reminded that we originally 
asked you only to wear uniform when on duty. I 
quote the words of a great statesman, and say, " A 
great deal has happened since then." 



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